The Slovenia Times

Janša for PM, Coalition Deal Signed


A vote on Janša's nomination will be held in the National Assembly as part of an emergency session called for Saturday.

The 53-year-old Janša, who served as prime minister already in the 2004-2008 term, will have to secure an absolute majority in the 90-seat legislature, which looks to be a mere formality as the new coalition has 50 MPs.

All lawmakers from the coalition endorsed the nomination shortly after the five parties announced they had signed a coalition deal.

The deal named "Contract for Slovenia 2012-2015" is aimed at putting Slovenia back on the path of "normal development", Janša told reporters.

With the agreement Slovenia will be "getting a crisis-busting coalition of reason", Janša said. He indicated that the first priority of the coalition would be to cut spending to balance the budget.

Janša, who rose to prominence as part of efforts for Slovenia's independence and has led the SDS since 1993, in which time he has spent 14 years in the opposition, said the new coalition will face its toughest challenges in the first 18 months as it seeks to implement reforms.

In an interview for Radio Ognjišče, Janša expanded on this by saying the coming months would be "the toughest period for Slovenia after independence".

"The path of carefree borrowing is over...this means that this year we will have to give up everything that we cannot finance with what we make," he said after today's signing.

He pledged that savings would be made in a way to provide for equality. But in seeking the well-being of the people "we must keep in mind that that only healthy economic growth and new jobs form a proper basis for such well-being", he added.

He said that to achieve this business must be allowed to breathe. Measures to achieve this will include the cutting of red tape and incentives as well as tax breaks. Indeed, Janša said that the coalition is committed to ensuring that taxes do not go up.

He added that all the partners in the coalition will be able to contribute their rightful share and rebutted criticism that, as the leader of the second-placed party in the December general election, his government lacked legitimacy.

The coalition is backed by 50 lawmakers who secured almost 600,000 votes, compared to 38 MPs and around 430,000 votes for the left-leaning camp of the Positive Slovenia and SocDems, he said.

Janša said he regretted that the leftist SocDems did not respond to the invitation to join negotiations on the coalition, but added that he would still look to work with the opposition on key projects as part of a "development partnership".

The right-leaning coalition has promised not to touch on divisive issues related to Slovenia's 20th century history, a point reiterated by Janša, who pledged that ideological issues would be left aside.

Janša, who holds a degree in defence studies, built his coalition exactly two weeks after Zoran Janković of Positive Slovenia, the strongest party in parliament, did not secure a majority in parliament to become prime minister-elect.

Janković had been nominated by President Danilo Türk, who today announced he would not be making a nomination for the second round of voting.

Explaining his decision, he said that he would leave the nomination to the parties forming the coalition, since he did not think that Janša had full legitimacy for the post due to the bribery indictment against him over the 2006 defence contract with Finnish company Patria.

Janša responded to this for Radio Ognjišče by saying that he thought it unbecoming that the president called a press conference not to make a nomination but to "attack a government which had not even been formed yet".

Rallying around Janša after the signing, the leaders of the remaining four parties in the coalition hailed the goals set down in the deal reached among them.

NSi leader Ljudmila Novak said that while being aware that governing in such a period would be challenging, her party was ready to contribute its all to ensure the government gets the job done.

Gregor Virant of the namesake list said his team was entering the coalition without euphoria but with the understanding that hard work awaits them. "But there is no fear. We have the courage and strength to respond to the challenges before us."

DeSUS leader Karl Erjavec said his party had decided to join the coalition to break the stalemate created after the 4 December elections as Janković failed to secure support from one of the parties from the other side.

Slovenia is in a difficult situation and any prolonging of the political crisis would be detrimental, Erjavec added.

SLS leader Radovan Žerjav stressed that his party was ready to assume its share of the responsibility for leading the country. He also called for bipartisan cooperation on key issues.

The signing of the deal and Janša's nomination come a day after the executive bodies of the five parties confirmed the draft coalition contract and gave their leaders the all clear to sign it.

While agreeing on the coalition programme, the parties are yet to finalise the make-up of the new cabinet.

Once confirmed in parliament, Janša will have a month's time to put forward candidates for his cabinet to the National Assembly, although the coalition has said the procedure will be sped up so that a new government can be installed by 10 February.


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