The Slovenia Times

New Round of Talks on PM-Designate


It is also clear that the president will not put forward a candidate before the 14-day term for the filing of new nominations expires on 25 January.

In a statement issued after today's consultations, the president's office said that the leaderships of parliamentary parties and the president had agreed the term could not be shortened.

The office also announced a potential additional round of consultations.

Positive Slovenia President Zoran Janković said talks with Türk revolved around what went on last week, when he failed to garner a sufficient majority in parliament.

Janković is yet to come clean as to whether he would be willing to accept a second nomination, but Türk has said he still considers him a serious contender.

Democrat (SDS) leader Janez Janša, considered as the most likely new nominee, came out of the talks with Türk saying it was difficult to gauge anything, as the president merely explained "dates and his technical powers".

He stressed, however, that he did not come to the president posing as a potential candidate. "We're all condemned to waiting," he said.

Janša said it was necessary to wait how the other parties will decide this week.

He is putting together a centre-right coalition but in order to secure a majority he needs the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) or the Social Democrats (SD), both of which received Janša's draft coalition agreement.

Janša expects the SD and DeSUS to "decide rationally". Perhaps the SD will "overcome ideological divisions for the first time in history," he said.

"There are not many alternatives. On the one side is a coalition of four parties with the largest number of votes, on the other side two parties with a combined 38 votes," he said in reference to the Positive Slovenia-SD tie-up.

Janša has not talked to DeSUS president Karl Erjavec in the recent days. He did speak to SD president Borut Pahor, but he had "no mandate to decide anything," Janša said.

However, the SD said today they were firmly behind Janković. He will have to secure a sufficient majority, which is feasible, SD deputy group leader Janko Veber said after talks with Türk. Pahor did not make any statements.

After the Citizens' List of Gregor Virant snubbed Janković in the first round and all but pledged their votes to Janša, the role of kingmaker has now fallen on DeSUS.

The party remained secretive after the talks with Türk, with party boss Karl Erjavec saying that a decision would be made when the president nominated his candidate.

Erjavec said he would wait until the end of the week to see whether Janković manages to produce the two missing votes (the Positive Slovenia-SD-DeSUS tie-up has 44 votes in the 90-member legislature).

If Janković does not succeed, further talks with the president and within DeSUS will be needed, as DeSUS would "hold the key to either a centre-right government or early elections".

But Erjavec was quick to point out that nobody in DeSUS wanted early elections. "It is true that some grassroots members want Janković more than Janša, but nobody wants early elections."

The Virant List will resume talks on a centre-right coalition, which Virant said was the most plausible option now that the idea for a third person at the helm of the government failed.

The party will discuss the draft coalition agreement later today, but will not decide on entering the coalition as yet, Virant said after talks with the president.

But Virant said the draft contained many guarantees for his party that it would play a strong role in the coalition. "Apart from DeSUS, we'll be a centrist party that will introduce liberal elements into the centre-right coalition."

Virant said that informal talks with DeSUS had been held but would not comment on them. The centre-right parties have not scheduled another meeting as yet, but "the things should get into motion soon".

The fact that potential PM-designate Janez Janša is on trial "does represent a certain deficit for such a coalition", Virant said.

Commenting on the possibility of a third candidate for PM-designate, he said it would be hard "finding the legitimacy to tell the president of the second strongest faction in parliament to withdraw as a candidate for PM-designate.

The People's Party (SLS) insisted in today's talks with the president that it would not join a government coalition built by Janković, and New Slovenia (NSi) said it supported Janša for PM-designate.

The president made no indication whom he would nominate for PM-designate, as this is only the beginning of talks, said SLS president Radovan Žerjav, adding: "Everything is open, which is how it should be."

Both Novak and Žerjav said that further steps and negotiations by the centre-right bloc depended mainly on DeSUS.

Novak said she understood the president's hesitations about Janša, but the party nevertheless believed he could run the government "well and efficiently". She answered in the affirmative when asked if one of the president's doubts concerned Janša's being on trial.

The MPs representing the Italian and Hungarian ethnic minorities, Roberto Battelli and Laszlo Göncz, reiterated that they would not play the role of kingmakers in a new vote on the PM.


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