The Slovenia Times

Rebel MPs opt out of SMC meeting


Ljubljana - Speaker Igor Zorčič and the head of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) deputy group Janja Sluga said they would not take part in yesterday's session of the SMC council, pointing to alliances party leader Zdravko Počivalšek was forging behind the scenes. The council's meeting meanwhile ended with the party closing ranks around Počivalšek.

Sluga and Zorčič, who have been questioning the party's position in the coalition for a while and are rumoured to be forming a deputy faction with a rebel MP from another party, told the STA today's that session was meant merely as a public spectacle.

Sluga said the most recent session of the SMC council was an orchestrated show "while links are being forged backroom past all the council's decisions party membership".

She pointed to Andrej Čuš, the leader of the Greens as a non-parliamentary party, being appointed a state secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, where Počivalšek serves as minister. She said Čuš was also attending party events.

"This is exactly what I've been warning of at the council's session and that's exactly what's happening now. Hence I see no reason to take part in such a spectacle," she said.

Similarly, Zorčič said Počivalšek had agreed cooperation with another party and hired its man at the ministry without notifying anyone in the SMC and in contravention of the party's statute.

Neither Sluga nor Zorčič would say whether they were planning to quit the party or deputy group. Branislav Rajić, another MP that is rumoured to be considering leaving the SMC deputy faction, was not available for comment.

Jurij Lep, an MP who had announced his intention to leave the deputy faction of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), confirmed earlier this week he was in talks with Sluga on forming a deputy group of independent MPs.

Sluga, Zorčič and Rajić all voted for the opposition-sponsored motion to dismiss Vasko Simoniti of the ruling Democrats (SDS) as culture minister in parliament today.

SMC leader Počivalšek commented this by saying that the three MPs would have to decide how to proceed as they could not wear two hats.

He was also critical of Sluga and Zorčič, one of the SMC vice-presidents, for going public about their non-attendance of today's council session.

Počivalšek said this saddened him because it showed disrespect for the party's bodies.

"I can understand their disappointment for not having support for their views on the council. But I'd want all open issues to be discussed by party bodies," he told the press as he arrived at the council session.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Počivalšek said the council discussed a course of action until the next election, with several proposals made to improve work.

The council established that by working as a team at all levels, the SMC could show "a new face" with a view to secure the best election result possible, he said.

Potential cooperation with other parties was also discussed, with one line of cooperation involving potential integration of liberal parties and the other potential cooperation of like-minded parties to jointly head for the election.

But Počivalšek stressed any decision of such cooperation would be decided upon by party bodies and denied any alliances being forged behind the scenes as implied by Sluga and Zorčič in relation to Greens leader Andrej Čuš joining the economy minister's team.

He said ministers had always been autonomous in choosing their state secretaries. Without naming him, Počivalšek said he chose Čuš, because of the topics his ministry was dealing with, foremost in relation to European structural funds, where Slovenia "is obliged to take into account green, circular and digital".


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