The Slovenia Times

Upper chamber completes transition in Slovenia's top offices

Marko Lotrič, the new president of the National Council.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Entrepreneur Marko Lotrič was elected president of the National Council, the upper chamber of parliament, on 19 December in a move that wraps up transition in Slovenia's four most senior offices in the super election year.

Lotrič's appointment comes after the new National Council was inaugurated a week ago. Earlier in the year, Slovenians also elected a new parliament and government, and a new president.

Lotrič is the founder and CEO of Lotrič Meroslovje, a metrology testing and certification company that employs more than 180 experts in seven countries. Now he will hand over to his youngest daughter as CEO.

Lotrič, a member of the interest group of employers in the council, won 21 votes in the 40-member chamber to defeat Dejan Crnek, a Ljubljana deputy mayor, who won 13 in a run-off.

This was after Jožef Školč, who served as MP, parliamentary speaker and culture minister in the 1990s, lost out in the first round of voting. A week ago, Školč secured more votes than Lotrič in a second round of voting, but not enough to get elected.

Though well known in the corporate world and active in various associations, Lotrič is a newcomer to politics and this is his first term as councillor.

Lotrič Meroslovje, which he founded in 1991 and in which he currently has a 38% direct stake, posted net sales of €5.6 million for 2021 and a net profit of €215,000.

Lotrič, who describes himself as a liberal, said his philosophy would be the power of argument over the argument of power, and that all councillors would be treated equally.

He emphasized the legislative role of the National Council, that is to put forward legislative proposals, and to ask for constitutional review of laws and regulations, rather than its power to veto laws. He does not think the council should build its mission on veto.

He also expressed desire for good cooperation with the leadership of the lower chamber, the government and the country's president. He believes all the interest groups represented in the council should have a voice, not just large ones.

"Such a stance will serve to affirm our position on the political map so that the arguments of the abolition of the National Council are done with once and for all," he said, pointing to the role of upper chambers in EU countries.

The National Council is made up of 22 representatives of local communities and 18 representatives of various other interest groups such as employers, trade unions, farmers, education, healthcare, research, trades, culture and sports. They are elected indirectly by electors of those groups and serve five-year terms.

Unlike the National Assembly, the National Council does not have the power to legislate. It can veto bills passed by the lower chamber and put forward its own bills.

The vetoed bill must be put to the vote again in the lower chamber but the bar for its passage is raised from simple to absolute majority.

Lotrič is the 7th president of the National Council since independence. He succeeds Alojz Kovšca, who failed to get re-elected councillor.


More from Politics