Election likely on 27 May or 3 June if no PM-designate nominated
The law gives the president of the republic the power to nominate a prime minister-designate first. With Pahor relinquishing this right, deputy groups or groups of ten MPs have until 10 April to put forward their own candidate, plus another 48 hours after that for a last-ditch attempt.
In the absence of a candidate proposed by MPs, Pahor plans to decide on 14 April when to call the election; he said the likeliest dates were 27 May and 3 June. If any candidates are put forward, the date will be shifted towards mid-June.
Pahor's decision was expected given that Cerar stepped down just months before his term would end anyway; regular elections would probably be held in mid-June.
The president said today it was important that Slovenia get a government with full powers, rendering "efforts to elect a prime minister for such a short time senseless."
But while there is broad agreement with the president's stance, it is possible a dummy candidate may be put forward because this would give MPs time to adopt key legislation.
Top of the list of such legislation is a bill amending the 1994 constitutional law that established Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB) as a bank separate from Ljubljanska Banka (LB).
With NLB facing damage claims in Croatia over LB deposits, MPs see amendments to the constitutional law as a means of shielding the bank from claims.
However, this option seems increasingly remote after the EU Commission recently indicated that the proposed solution - Slovenia settling NLB damages from a special succession fund - could run afoul of state aid rules.
The opposition Democrats (SDS) had been mentioned as the party likely to propose a dummy PM-designate in order to shepherd the NLB amendments through parliament, but their deputy group leader Jože Tanko indicated today this was not very likely assuming several tasks are completed.
"We will try not to be an obstacle to elections," Tanko told reporters in parliament. He said his party would not propose a PM-designate and indicated they would not contribute signatures to any third-party bids.
Nevertheless, he stressed that the NLB amendments were not the only important order of business the National Assembly had to complete. It is also necessary to adopt the final reports of parliamentary inquiry commissions and the Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence Services.