Heads of LMŠ, SD, SMC, SAB and DeSUS sign coalition agreement
"I believe that we all got what we wanted today and that the government will become fully operational within two weeks," said Prime Minister-designate Šarec.
Šarec, Dejan Židan (SD), Miro Cerar (SMC), Alenka Bratušek (SAB) and Karl Erjavec (DeSUS) signed the agreement nearly three weeks after concluded a cooperation pact with the Left, a radical leftist party that is to provide support from the opposition.
The cooperation protocol, which was initialled by the five coalition parties and the Left on 10 August, was signed by the five coalition partners alongside the coalition agreement today.
Šarec said he was happy that demanding coalition-building talks had resulted in the signing of the two documents today. He thanked the partners for their constructive attitude and for their efforts and willingness to seek solutions common to all of them.
He also addressed comments that his government would not last long. He said that anybody who had drawn courage to enter the government or become a ministerial nominee deserved recognition.
People are quick to say that nothing will come out of this, he said, adding that his team would do good for Slovenia and that they all had good intentions, acknowledging at the same time that the work ahead would be hard.
The parties had meanwhile conducted financial estimates of the projects included in the coalition agreement, but Šarec would not reveal the figure, saying it was not completely accurate. He added that measures would be implemented gradually, taking into account the fiscal rule and economic growth.
Šarec is expected to send the list of his 16 ministerial candidates to parliament on Friday. He said today he had conducted "quite substantial talks" with each of the candidates and that they assured him they would respect the objectives of this government.
Commenting on the criticism that the future cabinet was nothing but a reconstruction of the outgoing government, he said that he was on the other hand also being criticised for bringing in new names, people unknown to the public.
"No situation is ideal and nothing is ever liked by everybody. The success of our government will depend solely on its results and what it will do for Slovenia," he said.
The other coalition leaders also expressed hope for a fruitful cooperation. Židan, who has been appointed parliamentary speaker, and Cerar, the candidate for foreign minister, stressed at the event that Slovenia would continue to strive for friendly relations with Croatia and at the same time insist on the respect for the rule of law and international law.
Neither Židan nor Cerar would comment on the ministerial candidates proposed by the other coalition partners, each stressing that their parties picked good candidates.
Židan also said he was hurt about speculations that the Culture Ministry, which was attributed to his party, was not an important department. "No ministry is more important for the preservation of the Slovenian nation. We have survived because of our language and culture, and we will persevere in the future."
Cerar meanwhile reiterated that he wished the government would remain within the set financial framework, which will allow it to sustain any potential crises. The SMC will keep a close eye on public finance, said Cerar, who had pushed for financial assessments of the coalition agreement.
Erjavec commented on the future ministerial team by saying that his party had put forward an old face and a new one. He believes that Aleksandra Pivec, agriculture minister candidate, will bring fresh wind to the government, while his own experience must also count for something.
Meanwhile, Bratušek, who had wanted to hold a supra-ministerial position coordinating the ministries of finance and health, said she was eager to see the visions of the candidates who will take over the two departments.
Luka Mesec, the head of the Left, told the press at the sidelines of today's parliamentary session that he did not want to speculate how long the government would last.
"As far as we are concerned, it is clear that we will cooperate as long as government ministers stick to the agreement," said Mesec.
"You can accuse Šarec of being inexperienced but there could be Janez Janša sitting in his office. You can criticise the culture minister but there could be Zmago Jelinčič sitting in his office. These are the reasons why we decided to support Šarec," said Mesec, referring to the heads of the right-leaning SDS and SNS, respectively.