The Slovenia Times

Political Dilettantism: Interior Minister Faces Second Ouster Motion


The ouster motion proponents claim Virant has helped a former official of Virant's party to get a seat on the supervisory board of SIJ, a majority Russian-owned steel maker in which the state holds a 25% stake.

While he helped Janko Jenko become a SIJ supervisor, he was outraged about last year's appointment of ex-aide to the prime minister Gašpar Gašpar Mišič as CEO of port operator Luka Koper.

The motion also says that Jenko's company PCX Invest billed Virant's Citizens' List (DL) for EUR 9,720 after the last general election in 2011 for consultancy services. The proponents claim that no such services could have been carried out.

They also believe Virant has applied double standards when he was critical of ex-Economy Minister Stanko Stepišnik, who resigned because his company is a contractor for the government, while defending Infrastructure Minister Samo Omerzel of the DL, whose company used to work for the state.

The third major reproach is "double standards" in the staffing policy regarding the heads of five administrative units around the country. Virant allegedly appointed DL members or people with links to the party as heads of administrative units.

The motion was filed by independent MP Ivan Vogrin, an ex-DL member, and nine MPs from the opposition Democrats (SDS).

In his statement for the STA, Virant attacked Vogrin, saying that "persons found guilty of abuse of office should not hold the office of an MP".

Vogrin was sentenced in January 2013 to a suspended prison sentence for abuse of office in his capacity as mayor of Lenart (NE) in 2002-2006.

He told the press today that the ruling was annulled by the Higher Court already last year, but only one media outlet reported about it.

Reacting to the motion, coalition parties labelled it unfounded and absurd; they say it was a way of stepping up pressure on the coalition and the government and an attempt by Vogrin to attract attention.

The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) and People's Party (SLS), on the other hand, seem to be supporting the dismissal motion.

Virant survived the first ouster motion, which was filed by the SDS and the NSi, in December.

With the motion to oust Education Minister Jernej Pikalo still awaiting parliamentary debate, this is the fifth ouster motion against the government of Alenka Bratušek.


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