The Slovenia Times

Culture minister offers his resignation


"I would not wish to anyone what I have been through in the last week. The public lynch that happen did not hurt just me and my co-workers but also those in culture who - as Prešeren would say - 'are kind-hearted'. And that I cannot allow, because I am not an insensitive person as some (media) have tried to portray me," Prešiček wrote in the letter.

"Having said that, dear prime minister, I see only one possible solution, and that is to offer you my resignation as culture minister," he said, noting that a lot of work had been done during his term, some of which would only be noticed in the future.

Prešiček has recently been the target of accusations of bullying employees at the ministry and abusing his office.

He denied having bullied an official who recently committed suicide, while admitting to the accusations of misusing the ministry car.

Being a minister put forward by the coalition Social Democrats (SD), the party leadership discussed the situation on Saturday but would not reveal any conclusions of the debate.

The SD has shown support for Prešiček in the past week, but also said that the decision about his future as minister lies in the hands of the prime minister.

Šarec is expected to announce his decision at a press conference tomorrow morning. According to unofficial information obtained by the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, he will not accept Prešiček's resignation.

Prešiček said in the letter he had taken on the job in the government with the desire and responsibility to make positive change in the Slovenian culture.

"I believe I have done my job in line with the oath I took in front of the National Assembly."

Among his achievements he highlighted a further rise in culture spending, better drawing of EU funds and "steps to optimise public spending".

He also pointed to the problems he inherited, saying they "erupted in the recent days".

Regretting the "premature and unexplained death of a Culture Ministry employee", Prešiček said it was yet another reminder that ministers must devote more time to human relations on all levels.

He also thanked all those who expressed support to him publicly in the face of the scandal.

The Slovenian Writers' Association (DSP) responded to the situation earlier today by saying that the "chaos we are seeing with the current minister and other officials is a result of the political attitude to culture," a consequence of years of political underestimating and neglecting of culture, which had led to shortages of staff and funds.

"The conflict was inevitable and in a way expected, as the situation reached rock bottom in many areas." The association expects the government to tackle the situation as soon as possible with radical and efficient measures.


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