The Slovenia Times

Igor Zorčič remains speaker of parliament


Ljubljana - Igor Zorčič remains speaker of the National Assembly. The coalition failed with a motion to dismiss him Tuesday after he quit the Modern Centre Party (SMC) deputy group, as 45 voted in favour of the dismissal, one vote short of the required majority, and two votes were invalid.

The vote came after the opposition LMŠ, SD, Left and SAB, and the new deputy group formed by MPs who have defected from the SMC and DeSUS, walked out of the session and refused to pick up the ballots for the secret vote.

They argued that if the coalition wanted to unseat the speaker, they had to do it themselves. Some also suggested the new situation, in which neither bloc has a clear majority, was an opportunity for a grand bargain on a speaker.

Several opposition MPs framed the motion as an attempt by the government to subjugate the legislative branch.

The coalition, meanwhile, said it was normal that a new speaker be appointed given that the speaker has always come from the ranks of the coalition.

They argued the motion had nothing do to with Zorčič's record as speaker, which both the opposition and coalition said was exemplary, but was rather a reflection of a new balance of power in parliament.

The vote was closely watched as an indication of the governing coalition's strength given that some parties have called for a snap election with the formation of the new faction and the loss of three coalition MPs.

However, Zorčič himself poured cold water on this idea in his first statement after the vote, when he said the outcome "does not forecast that the government will not have a majority in the National Assembly in the future".

The vast majority of legislative motions require only a simple majority and the government has so far been able to carry the majority of laws with the help of the DeSUS and SNS, which are formally opposition parties but often vote with the government.

Danijel Krivec, the chair of the deputy group for the ruling Democrats (SDS), said the unsuccessful attempt did not mean the coalition would not give it another try.

Overall, Zorčič said that "reason prevailed" in the end and that the National Assembly remained independent and "does not let the government dictate" it.

Invoking certain foreign parliaments in which speakers have a different mandate than the other MPs, he said he planned to continue serving independently.

And while he agrees that he was originally appointed as a representative of the second largest coalition party, he said there was no new coalition today with such a party any more.

"We've got an old, disintegrating coalition which lost a party and a second party has only half the members," he said, a situation he described as "unprecedented".


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