The Slovenia Times

President Türk Trying to avoid the referenda


Türk told the press after meeting Janković that the meetings were part of his efforts to get acquainted with the state of dialogue between proponents of the referenda and the government. He added that he had invited PM Janez Janša for a meeting on the issue on Friday.

The meetings come after Türk called for both sides to take a step back in order to avoid the referenda in the wake of a request by the PS to start referendum procedures against the laws two weeks ago.

The president said today he wanted to get acquainted on the state of the talks so that he could make further proposals for avoiding the referenda.

Asked after the talks on whether the PS was willing to withdraw the referendum motion, Janković said the party was willing to discuss this, but needed an interlocutor.

Meanwhile, Virant said that he did not know exactly why he was invited to the talks, while he presumed it may be because the president saw him as a link between the opposition and government.

Janković, who welcomed the president's decision to call the talks, said that any decision by his party to withdraw the referendum motion would in no way be related to Türk's presidential campaign.

The PS has endorsed Türk in his bid for re-election and the president will face former Prime Minister Borut Pahor in the run-off on 2 December.

But Virant, whose Citizens' List has endorsed Pahor, was not so sure, saying that all actions at this time are in some way connected to the campaign.

He added that the interests of the country must be put before campaign tactics, stressing that all efforts must be directed at overcoming the "referendum blockade".

After the meeting, Virant said that he had told the president that he would try to bring the key players, Finance Minister Janez Šušteršič and PS deputy Alenka Bratušek, to the negotiating table at the start of next week. "I believe compromises absolutely ought to be found there."

Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry is in talks with the KNG trade union of chemical industry employees to persuade it to withdraw its referendum motion on the bad bank act.

"We'll see whether [the talks] will bear fruit, but the chances are slim as the union is opposing the basic concept of the law," Virant said, adding that he found it "odd that the union that has nothing to do with the banking system is opposed to the concept of restructuring the banking system".

Türk also met representatives of the KNG trade union to discuss the status of its talks with the government on withdrawing the referendum initiative.

KNG president Tomaž Kumer said that Türk urged the trade union to persist in the talks with the government despite the fact that there is little headway in the negotiations.

"I don't know how we will find a solution. We are still very far apart," said Kumer after the meeting. He added that Türk was insisting that they need to continue the talks. "I have to give him credit that he is persistent in making sure that we do not quit."

Asked by the media whether the PS's referendum motion was hurting Türk's chances, Janković said that this was not an issue, since the motion had nothing to do with the presidential election.


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