The Slovenia Times

NSi leader downplays fallout from MEP's criticism


Ljubljana - Matej Tonin, the leader of the Christian democratic party New Slovenia (NSi), argued strong internal democracy in the party as he responded on Friday to scathing criticism expressed by the party's former leader, MEP Ljudmila Novak.

Novak posted a statement on her website earlier this week saying she was much "saddened that many Christians should have become part of the herd that has been [...] following blindly someone who is neither a democrat nor a rightist, but a far-rightist at best", in a reference to Prime Minister Janez Janša.

Denying the allegation that she was funding her own party, Novak said ever since she had been ranking high in opinion polls, left and in particular right and far-right media had been speculating about her alleged bid for the 2022 presidential election although she often said she wanted to continue with her work in Brussels.

Novak said every time the NSi would not bend to destructive politics of another right party, they would be attacked as leftists, asserting that she herself had been subject from attacks "mainly from the 'right' that has most ex-Communists in its ranks".

In response, Tonin wrote that the NSi "is not a party where everyone would think the same. We have shared values in common. New Slovenia has strong internal democracy, which is why dissenting or minority opinions don't mean exclusion or other kind of harassment."

The newspaper Dnevnik has reported that Tonin has said that there have been calls from membership for the party to expel Novak and that some members have quit the party in protest.

The party told the STA today that Tonin was planning to meet Novak in the coming days to discuss topical developments in the European Parliament, Slovenia and the party.

The NSi also confirmed that it had received calls from people who were unhappy with Novak's writing, but the party reiterated that dissenting opinions were not a reason for exclusion.

Novak has been critical of Prime Minister Janša before, including during her time as NSi leader. In response to her tweet saying the war against the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) was unwarranted and that she expected a more statesman-like attitude from Janša, he accused her of causing nuisance instead of working for the benefit of Slovenia.


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