The Slovenia Times

SDS mounts ouster attempt against Foreign Minister Fajon


Ljubljana - The opposition Democrats (SDS) tabled a motion of no confidence in Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon on Thursday, just two days after Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar became the first minister in the Robert Golob government to face interpellation.

The grounds for the ouster motion are partially the same: a memo to administrative units, certain institutions and diplomatic missions to publish in a prominent place an address where voters can send signatures of support for certain presidential candidates.

They first did this for candidate Nataša Pirc Musar, who had been first to ask for this, and upon request the same was repeated for some of the other candidates.

The SDS alleges that the memo favoured a particular candidate, and that the diplomatic cable system had been abused, according to MP Franc Breznik.

He said Fajon was responsible for a "selective collection of signatures for a single presidential candidate, which has created inequality before the law."

The cable in question was leaked to the public, which led to the recall of Ambassador to the US Tone Kajzer, who was found to have taken a photo of the cable and shared it with SDS leader Janez Janša in violation of the law and Foreign Ministry rules.

The SDS says the recall violated the act on foreign affairs because President Borut Pahor, who has the final say in diplomatic appointments, had not been consulted beforehand.

Indeed, Breznik presented Kajzer, whom he described as one of Slovenia's finest diplomats, as "a whistleblower" who revealed the abuse of the diplomatic-cable system.

Kajzer served as a state secretary in the SDS-led government and was appointed ambassador during that government's term.

Breznik also accused the minister of wanting to vacate the post in Washington so that Marta Kos, a member of the ruling Freedom Movement who recently quit the presidential race, could be appointed ambassador. Kos has vehemently denied any such arrangement.

Fajon denied the allegations, underlining she had always respected legislation, which was why she proposed the recall of Kajzer. She said she had discussed this with the president three days before the government's decision.

Talking to the press via video link from New York, she said Kajzer had threatened her with a motion of no confidence nearly two weeks ago, when she informed him that he would be returning home. "So these arrangements were already being made, the motion of no confidence was being prepared."

She said she had not yet gone through the entire motion, adding she would respond to all of the allegations when the National Assembly discussed it.

She believes the focus now should be on Kajzer, who had violated a diplomat's special obligations as defined by the Foreign Ministry's rulebook on personal data protection, which includes unauthorised actions and showing dispatches to unauthorised persons.

Moreover, the minister said Kajzer had violated provisions of the foreign affairs act about diplomats' obligation to protect documents and information, and provisions about authorised actions.

She denied allegations that Nataša Pirc Musar was favoured by the ministry over other presidential candidates. Fajon said the Foreign Ministry issued the dispatch upon request of Interior Ministry and the first one was followed by six more regarding other candidates hoping to run for president.

"We did the same in other cases, and in line with the ministry's long-time practice, we also did the same for referenda initiated by the SDS," said Fajon.

The senior coalition Freedom Movement said the motion of no confidence was an attempt by the SDS to hinder the government's "successful" work and that it amounted to abuse of the motion for the politicisation and for the nursing of wounds following the party's defeat in April election.

The party said its deputy parliamentary group would examine the motion. The junior coalition Left said the same, even though its deputy group leader Matej Vatovec dismissed the motion as unserious.


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