Speculation Rife about Potential Fall of Janša Govt
The issue is to be discussed by the executive council of the senior coalition Democrats (SDS) Thursday evening. Janša will meanwhile meet other party leaders in the late afternoon to ascertain whether there is any possibility to build a sufficient two-thirds majority for the zero deficit rule to be entered in the Constitution in line with Slovenia's commitments to the EU.
In the meantime, discussions about a potential new coalition have apparently already started behind the scenes and president of the junior coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) Karl Erjavec is already setting his party's conditions.
But contrary to Erjavec's claims, the opposition parties Positive Slovenia (PS) and Social Democrats (SD) denied the existence of any such talks, while they also suggested that the odds are heavily against their MPs voting for the fiscal rule.
Ahead of the regular weekly session of the government today, Erjavec told some media that he believed Janša would in fact tie a confidence vote to the fiscal rule, which currently does not enjoy the required two-thirds support in parliament.
Erjavec said that this would mean that "we'll not have a fully empowered government on Saturday any more, but rather a caretaker government", which the foreign minister said would be a "preface to a political crisis".
He sees a solution in a new coalition, for which DeSUS has its conditions ready: reversing the pension cut for 26,000 pensioners under the omnibus austerity act, reviewing the decision to scrap holiday allowance for pensioners getting more than EUR 622, and keeping the Pension Fund Management (KAD) independent in a new sovereign holding.
"Under these conditions DeSUS is willing to consider [entering] another coalition," Erjavec said, adding that a new coalition would certainly not be the same as the one now: "if the PM lost a confidence vote, and the government was voted out, then I think this coalition is exhausted and no more has the power to fight the crisis."
Commenting on the speculation that DeSUS met the opposition Social Democrats (SD) over the situation on Wednesday, Erjavec said that they merely met up for a "coffee shop talk" with the SD and that real talks were being held behind the scenes, but would not comment further.
Head of the PS deputy group Jani Möderndorfer said he was not aware of any new coalition being formed or any discussions about it. "We attempted to form a coalition once and we gained experience then. This is time for reflection, we need to wait to see what the prime minister wants really."
The biggest opposition party will attend the meeting over the fiscal rule with the PM today to hear out what "he has got to say to us and what really happens", but it may be that parliament would "only take a vote on the fiscal rule on Friday".
The party will decide based on the concrete proposal on the table, Möderndorfer said, but when asked about the PS MPs' support for the fiscal rule, he said that "we're not changing our opinion every two hours". Still, they will wait for what the PM will tell them.
While SocDem MPs are to vote on the fiscal rule according to their conscience, party president Igor Lukšič said that if the vote is made into a confidence vote, it was unlikely for anyone from the party, even those who have supported the fiscal rule so far, to vote yes.
Asked whether the party would back the fiscal rule in exchange for the coalition withdrawing the bill establishing a sovereign holding, Lukšič sad that they were no merchants.
Similarly, head of the SD deputy group Janko Veber does not expect SD deputies to vote for the fiscal rule, the reason being that the government has failed to put forward a bill to implement the fiscal rule. The SD wants a clear answer how the systemic banks would be recapitalised and the indebted economy helped.
While Erjavec suggested that he favoured a new coalition over a snap election, his colleague Radovan Žerjav of the People's Party (SLS) deems an early election more likely in case the Janša government should be voted out on Friday.
"In that case we are headed fast for a snap election. I don't see any other solution. Except if anyone from the other side comes up with something," said Žerjav, which scenario he believes would be a disaster, considering the developments last autumn when PM Borut Pahor government was voted out.
In the case of a vote of confidence, Žerjav said it was "the responsibility of each each party and each MP whether to press the [voting] button at the given moment or not". Žerjav expects everyone to reflect their decision well in particular when it comes to the fiscal rule.
New Slovenia (NSi) president Ljudmila Novak said the party was ready for all events, but added that the NSi would definitely not join a different coalition. She doubts that "all those who run the government in the past can pull Slovenia out of the situation", considering their "destructive" actions now.
Veber said he did not know anything about talks being held on a potential centre-left coalition, but as to the possibility of an early election, Veber said that the party had warned even before the last snap vote that it would bring nothing good for the country, but no one would listen.