The Slovenia Times

No Confidence Vote for Interior Minister?


The motion was filed by the opposition Positive Slovenia (PS) and also endorsed by the Social Democrats (SD), while the coalition parties argue that there has so far been no evidence to suggest that it was Gorenak or his ministry who was responsible for the loss of signatures in October.

Flaws in the handling of their referendum initiative was first suspected by the Trade Union of Chemical, Non-Metal and Rubber Industry, after they were informed that they failed to submit a sufficient number of signatures to initiative referendum proceedings (2,500).

An internal inquiry conducted at the National Assembly in early November found that the parliamentary service received fewer sheets of signatures back from the Interior Ministry than it had sent there for verification. A recount showed that the number of signatures collected had been sufficient.

All the parties and public figures labelled the signature loss scandalous and guessing began as to who is the blame for the incident. Speaker Gregor Virant insisted throughout that parliament was not responsible for the mistake, and Minister Gorenak argued the same for the Interior Ministry with an internal inquest there clearing the ministry of responsibility.

An inquiry by the Information Commissioner was unable to pinpoint the reason for the loss of signatures or whether the loss was intentional, while it ascertained lack of care in the handling of documents at the ministry as well as in parliament.

The Corruption Prevention Commission has made similar findings, but also assessed that the Interior Ministry and Gorenak acted contrary to expected acted contrary to "expected integrity" in that they failed to formally notify the National Assembly about the missing signatures until just before the deadline (30 October), although the minister and some other officials and public employees had been notified of that on 26 October.

The delay in the submission of the ministry's report on the initiative to parliament is also one of the reproaches in the PS-sponsored motion. Gorenak explained that the ministry had processed the initiative within the terms defined by law, while arguing that parliament had spent more time processing the document than his ministry and that the anti-graft watchdog did not use the same yardstick.

Gorenak also pledged that he would offer his resignation if the guilt of Interior Ministry employees for the loss of signatures was conclusively determined.

All coalition parties have announced they will support Gorenak in the vote, while PM Janez Janša expressed his belief that the vote would not even take place as debate - 16 hours have been reserved for discussion - would show the motion against Gorenak had no legal basis.

This is the 29th "interpellation" motion, as a vote of no confidence in a minister is called in Slovenia, since independence. Gorenak is the fifth interior minister to face such a motion. So far, only two interpellations have succeeded, whereas some ministers resigned even before it came to the vote.


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