The Slovenia Times

Počivalšek to remain minister, does not intend to return to parliament


Ljubljana - The leader of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC), Zdravko Počivalšek, has decided to remain economy minister rather than return to parliament. This is after an MP of the ruling Democrats (SDS) said last week that Počivalšek returning to parliament to secure the coalition an absolute majority was still an option.

Počivalšek presented his decision to the SMC executive committee on Thursday arguing that the economic sector could not afford any additional shake-ups amid the epidemic.

The SMC leader also told the STA that he maintained the ruling coalition was still functioning effectively.

Počivalšek's return to parliament was mentioned as an option on Friday by Danijel Krivec, the head of the SDS deputy group, after parliament fell one vote short to dismiss Speaker Igor Zorčič in its second attempt.

Krivec also announced that a third attempt at dismissing the speaker, who left the SMC in March to become an unaffiliated MP, would have to be mounted.

The government has so far largely managed to get its bills through parliament. While its three parties have 38 votes in parliament, it usually manages to get on board both minority MPs, the National Party (SNS) and the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), which is technically in opposition but has one minister from before it left the coalition.

A test the coalition faces is the appointment of a new justice minister after Lilijana Kozlovič of the SMC resigned last week over government delays in appointing Slovenia's European delegated prosecutors.

As the SMC is looking for her replacement, the executive board discussed potential candidates today, authorising Počivalšek to finalise talks with two potential candidates and Prime Minister Janez Janša by Friday.

The most likely candidate is Marko Starman, who teaches at the European Faculty of Law at the University of Nova Gorica. He has already talked with Prime Minister Janez Janša.

In 2000-2008 he served as a state secretary at the justice and environment ministries, and later worked for the Government Office for Local Government and Regional Policy.

The head of the SMC deputy group Gregor Perič, confirmed for reporters today that aside from Starman, the other potential candidate is Marjan Dikaučič, who works as an official receiver.

Perič noted the assets of both candidates, in the case of Starman being his experience as a government official and his knowledge about EU law, while Dikaučič is an expert on bankruptcy legislation, the tackling of which Perič said would be a priority for the party until the end of the term.

Unofficial information obtained by the STA indicates that if Starman becomes minister, Dikaučič could become his state secretary.

Perič does not expect problems in the appointment of a new justice minister, where a simple majority is sufficient.

Initial statements by coalition partners indicate Starman should get their support, while DeSUS and the SNS will make their position known once the proposal is official and they have heard the candidate out.

However, Starman was one of the candidates favoured by DeSUS for a judge on the Constitutional Court.


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