The Slovenia Times

State secretary tipped as new culture minister


Several names have circled in the public as to who could succeed Julijana Bizjak Mlakar after her resignation, but Culture Ministry State Secretary Tone Peršak is reportedly the likeliest choice.

According to Bizjak Mlakar, who resigned on Monday after a spat with PM Miro Cerar over the UNESCO-listed Idrija mercury mine, she leaves the ministry in a good shape.

Žmavc meanwhile noted that he would only head the ministry for a couple of weeks as procedures are already under way in the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) to nominate a new minister with full powers. He wants a new minister as soon as possible, because "culture deserves it".

Former PEN Slovenia president Peršak seems to be the likeliest choice among several names that include Nova Gorica schoolmaster Bojan Bratina, Public Fund for Cultural Activities (JSKD) director Igor Teršar and sociologist and publisher Neda Pagon. Peršak also enjoys Bizjak Mlakar's backing, because she was very satisfied with his work during her tenure and he knows the tasks at hand.

Peršak meanwhile noted for the STA he was just one among several possible candidates, while it is up to the DeSUS to select the one. He would have to become the party's member if selected.

Should he become a minister, Peršak believes that "as many as possible systemic changes should be implemented in culture in the second half of the [government's] term".

"We need a strategic rethink on how to overhaul the system and the basics of our cultural policy. I believe that the current four-year cycle for the national culture programme is too short... Strategic planning should be done for longer periods and ministers would make plans for their terms," Peršak moreover said.

According to him, culture is a societal sub-system that needs to have a certain degree of autonomy. Experts should decide about substance while policy-makers should decide on operative issues.


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