The Slovenia Times

Šarec accepts culture minister's resignation


The prime minister would therefore like the junior coalition Social Democrats (SD), which put forward Prešiček as minister, to present new candidates for minister and two state secretaries as soon as possible.

Šarec said he believes the entire leadership at the Culture Ministry must be replaced so that the whole situation could be cleared up.

He said he expected concrete results from the new team and the ability to manage interpersonal relations.

The Culture Ministry is a very important ministry in the sense that it preserves this nation's identity, language and culture and makes sure that money is spent efficiently, he said.

Acknowledging the achievements that Prešiček listed in his letter of resignation yesterday, he said that he accepted his resignation so that the situation at the ministry could normalise.

Prešiček managed to raise culture spending and "move things that were in the drawer for a long time." He published a call for applications that was in the making for a decade and had General Rudolf Maister's library in Maribor declared national monument, Šarec noted.

The prime minister said that he had received letters in the past week blaming Prešiček for virtually everything that was wrong as well as those praising the minister to the skies. "I don't feel it's my place to judge on this."

Neither the trade unions nor the employees should celebrate today, Šarec said, calling for self-reflection among all those involved, "including Culture Ministry employees who have been working there since 1990."

He pointed to that fact that 74 reports of bullying or mobbing had been filed at the ministry in the previous term, saying this was cause for concern.

Prešiček, who offered his resignation yesterday in the face of bullying and abuse of office accusations following the suicide of a Culture Ministry employee, would not comment on the PM's decision today.

In the letter of resignation, Prešiček said he was offering resignation because the "public lynch that happened did not hurt just me and my co-workers but also those in culture who - as Prešeren would say - 'are kind-hearted'."

He said he had decided for the move to show that he was "not an insensitive person as some (media) have tried to portray me."

While denying having bullied the employee, Prešiček admitted to misusing the ministry car. He admitted to using the ministry car for the transporting of his instruments to the Music and Ballet Conservatory, where he served as director until his current job between 2010 and 2018, and where he continues to teach.

Prešiček is the second minister to leave the government after Marko Bandelli was forced to resign as minister without portfolio in charge of development and cohesion policy in mid-November over meddling in the local elections and delays in producing a report on EU funds phasing.

Prešiček is leaving the ministry after just over four months. He was sworn in on 13 September 2018. Nine other ministers have been forced out of the office even quicker so far. The shortest term had Klavdija Markež, who had to leave the Education Ministry in 2015 after only five days on the job following revelations that her master's thesis was plagiarised.

Until a new minister is appointed to succeed Prešiček, the Culture Ministry will be run by Minister of Education, Science and Sport Jernej Pikalo.

Šarec has already sent the note about Prešiček's resignation to parliament, which will formally relieve him of his duties.


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