The Slovenia Times

DeSUS MPs clash with interim party head


Ljubljana - Three MPs of the opposition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) are upset about statements by interim party head Brigita Čokl about them in the media. They are particularly bothered by her saying that a stick would be needed to deal with MPs because the carrot approach does not work. They hired a lawyer demanding she revoke the statements.

Franc Jurša, Branko Simonovič and Ivan Hršak hired Franci Matoz, the lawyer well known for representing PM Janez Janša and the ruling Democrats (SDS). If their demand is not met, they said they would be forced to take legal action.

However, Čokl said through the legal firm Pirc Musar & Lemut Strle she would not take back her statements because, by making them, she was implementing her freedom of (political) expression on a subject that was "without a doubt in the public interest".

Čokl's statements were published in online articles of the newspapers Delo and Večer on 2 April.

The interim party head announced a policy of the stick for Delo, saying she would no longer tolerate MPs' departures from the party's positions.

In a statement for Večer she was critical of MPs actions during voting on the motion to oust Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti. "I find the fact that they were not present for the vote inadmissible. It is misbehaviour. For schoolchildren it's skipping school. But with 65 year-olds I don't know if it's a trait one would expect from them," she said.

She said they were also responsible for a drop in public support for DeSUS.

Pirc Musar & Lemut Strle confirmed in a press release today Čokl had received a warning before a lawsuit through the Matoz legal firm on Thursday. She was accused on violating personal rights of the MPs with her statements.

But Čokl's lawyers say "such an attack by MPs on the freedom of political expression ... was a clear example of intimidation and attempts at silencing those with different political views who disagree with the actions of the government, which DeSUS MPS Franc Jurša, Branko Simonovič and Ivan Hršak also support although the DeSUS party had left the coalition in December 2020".

Čokl's statements were noting but a legally admissible criticism of political actions of the MPs that is based on objective facts and is not insulting, the lawyers say.

In a letter to members of the party at the end of March, Čokl said that MP's labelling themselves moderate opposition was a very stretchy and vague notion. She said that DeSUS MPs or at least a majority of them had voted differently from what had been previously agreed at the party level.

Čokl took over as interim head of DeSUS at the end of March when Anton Balažek stepped down as interim head after taking over from Karl Erjavec, who stepped down as party head on 10 March.

The party is to hold an election congress on 19 June. So far, Ljubo Jasnič and Srečko Felix Krope have announced their candidacies.

DeSUS left the ruling coalition last December.


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