The Slovenia Times

Pivec loses confidence vote, remains party leader for now


While the council had a dismissal vote on the agenda, the session was suspended until 9 September due to differing interpretations as to whether it can in fact dismiss the party president given that she was elected at a congress.

Pivec said the outcome gave the party time to carefully consider how to proceed. She insists that an extraordinary electoral congress is the way to go and said she had not yet decided whether she would run for president again.

She also said she would like to remain in politics regardless of the final outcome and stay on as agriculture minister.

As for the outcome of today's session, Pivec said she had expected "all sorts of scenarios given the events in recent weeks. There was huge media pressure and the membership is susceptible to that. So no, I am not surprised."

Until 9 September the party's executive board and commission for legal issues will examine all the possible procedural routes, according to Tomaž Gantar, the head of the party's council.

The most likely option appears to be the convocation of an electoral congress which Gantar indicated could be held in late October or November.

In the intervening time the council may either appoint an interim leadership or Pivec may stay on as president depending on the legal interpretations, Gantar indicated. He acknowledged today's vote was a sign the party was having trouble that it had to resolve.

The session was initially mired in procedural disputes and it took the members several hours before they expanded the original agenda with the now postponed dismissal vote.

Regardless of the outcome of the power struggle, which appears to be hurting the party's approval ratings, DeSUS is likely to remain a member of the ruling coalition.

Pivec, the minister of agriculture, forestry and food, has led the party since the 18 January congress, at which she overwhelmingly defeated long-serving leader Karl Erjavec.

But two of her recent trips around Slovenia in her capacity as minister which she combined with family time proved controversial since they were initially paid for by a municipality and a company she visited. She denies any wrongdoing.

Today's vote came after the entire DeSUS deputy group urged Pivec on 10 August to resign over the alleged ethics breaches.

Since then deputy group leader Franc Jurša has indicated on several occasions that the MPs planned to go "all the way", even as far as forming an independent deputy group, but would continue to support the government.

Leaving the council session today, Jurša said that the deputy group would "finish this matter". "This is not the end, in a way it is a new beginning."


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