The Slovenia Times

Virant's List Holds the Cards


Virant's party expects responses, while the first reactions by parliamentary parties however already show that a national unity government is highly unlikely.

The response of other parties will also be of interest to President Danilo Tuerk, whose office said today that there would be no more official meetings with party leaders this week. Nevertheless, talks will proceed on other levels.

Virant described the proposal as an attempt that had to be made, while admitting the party was aware that its efforts would very likely prove futile. Alongside its allies, the People's Party (SLS) and the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), they need at least one of the three biggest parties on board.

If the Virant List receives positive responses from parties that could together form a two-thirds majority in parliament, they will together lay down the tasks for such a government and pick a PM-designate, said Virant, who however refused to mention any names.

He talked to the STA before the meeting of the party council later today which is to lay down guidelines for "plan B" under which the party will decide whether to join a left- or a right-leaning coalition.

If other parties show no interest in forming a national unity government, the Virant List is to proceed with intensive talks with both potential PM-designates: PS leader Zoran Jankovic and SDS head and election runner-up Janez Jansa.

Virant noted today that both coalitions are acceptable to his party. Therefore, he believes the decision will not be easy. He did not meet Jansa in the past days, but is likely to get in touch with him in case that the attempt at a national unity government does not succeed.

Although parliamentary parties are yet to receive the proposal, the first responses show that Slovenia will not have a national unity government. Sources indicate that CEO of Unicredit banka France Arhar is being mentioned as PM candidate in a national unity government.

While the SLS and DeSUS support the idea of forming a government of national unity alongside the Virant List, such a government will only be possible if it is joined by at least one of the three biggest parties.

While the PS expects that Tuerk will appoint its leader Jankovic as PM-designate, the SDS refused to comment, and the third biggest party, the SocDems, does not find the idea of a national unity government appropriate after a general election.

New Slovenia (NSi), the smallest parliamentary party, also does not support the idea. However, it would like to see talks "in the sense of a grand coalition".

Pundits also largely reject the notion of a national unity government.

Samo Uhan of the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences described it as an "unfortunate attempt to pervert the will of the majority of voters to create a coalition merely because the smaller political actors did not understand the message of the election."

Spomenka Hribar, a respected sociologist and former politician, noted that Slovenia was "not yet so far as to require a government of national unity".

Meanwhile Matej Makarovic of the Nova Gorica Faculty of Advanced Social Studies deems that a national unity government "could be a good solution in principle", but it would have to involve Positive Slovenia as well as the SDS.


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