The Slovenia Times

No to Janković's Coalition


The decision, adopted by the VL's executive council unanimously, leaves Janković with little chances of receiving in Wednesday's vote in parliament the 46 votes needed to become prime minister and of forming a majority government.

VL president Gregor Virant told the press that the decision was the result of substantial differences in the programmes of the VL and PS and the party's assessment that it would not be able to implement its programme in a sufficient manner in such a coalition.

The VL still has not decided on whether to join a coalition with the Democrats (SDS), which came second in the election and with which it has also been engaged in coalition talks.

The party will wait for Wednesday's vote in parliament and then respond to a potential invitation for talks with SDS head Janez Janša, whose coalition would however also need to win over the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS).

Virant said the coalition agreement, drawn up with the PS in charge and also initialed by the VL, had "one major flaw, namely that it lacked a concept".

"To a large extent it was being created as a sum total of remarks by other negotiating groups, while we missed a concept promoted by the PS," he said about the talks which also featured the SocDems and DeSUS.

The head of the VL negotiating team Janez Šušteršič also said that the coalition agreement contribution of the PS as the strongest party had been a disappointment, "limited to some three pages, while they mostly mediated the talks among the remaining parties afterwards".

He said that the PS had failed to convince the VL in the area of tax cuts, where reservations had been voiced not only by the PS but also by other parties involved in the negotiations.

Šušteršič mentioned the VL-proposed cap on social contributions, benefiting top earners, and proposals by some that another income tax bracket be introduced for the richest, which would no longer be taxed at 41% but at 50%, as well as "the great conviction of some that a VAT raise will nonetheless be necessary".

There was also lack of complete agreement on the specifics of the pension and health care reforms, Šušteršič said, noting that it seemed as if the goal of the talks had been to insert everything in the coalition agreement only to prevent the VL from leaving the negotiations.

However, this did not inspire hope that the VL would later also be able to implement what "was otherwise inserted into the agreement in such a benevolent fashion that included many reservations".

Virant moreover warned against saddling the VL, which has eight votes in the 90 member parliament, with too much responsibility and protested against the thesis about the VL was undermining the election result.

According to him, this thesis "is directed against anyone not willing to join a coalition with Janković". The election result "does not commit any other party in advance to joining a coalition with him", Virant said.

Meanwhile, parties refused to provide any comment of substance regarding the VL's move, with some of them, including the PS, saying they would issue a response on Tuesday.

Tuesday will also bring a decision of DeSUS on whether it will back Janković in the vote on Wednesday. He presently only has the support of the PS's 28 MPs, and potentially of the 10 MPs of the SocDem, while DeSUS has six deputies.

The two MPs representing the Hungarian and Italian minority have already announced they were not ready to tilt the scale in the event of a close call, while all other parties - the SDS with 28 MPs, the VL with 8, the People's Party (SLS) with 6 and New Slovenia (NSi) with 4 - have explicitly rejected a coalition with Janković.


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