The Slovenia Times

Coalition Scrambling for Solutions


Bratušek suggested today she would like to resign at the earliest possible time, but she decided to wait until it is clear if an election can be held before the summer given the legislative provisions on the dissolution of government.

If the prime minister resigns or is ousted in a no-confidence vote, the law provides a 30-day window for the election of a new PM-designate.

There is uncertainty over whether elections can be called before the expiry of the 30 days even if all parties refrain from putting forward candidates for prime minister.

Miro Cerar, a constitutional law expert, says the Constitution does not explicitly say the 30-day window can be shortened. He told the STA this would be theoretically possible but would require some sort of agreement by "at least 80 MPs" in the 90-seat legislature.

Cerar also noted that enough time needed to be set aside for campaigning, which could be difficult before the summer given that EU elections will be held on 25 May and a referendum on archives on 8 June.

He said the procedural aspect was the responsibility of the president, the prime minister and the speaker of parliament. "The president holds the key," he noted.

In the immediate aftermath of the Positive Slovenia (PS) congress all coalition partners insisted on immediate early elections and pronounced the government dead. However, they have now backtracked somewhat.

At this point the coalition partners appear to be open to a variety of options, ranging from extending the government's life through autumn to hold both general and local elections on the same day, to making immediate moves.

The Citizens' List (DL) insists elections should be held as soon as possible. "The duration of the political crisis must be minimised and the country must get an operational government with full powers as soon as possible," the party said in a written statement.

On the other hand, the Social Democrats (SD) are willing to accept an arrangement that would postpone the election to autumn.

SD president Igor Lukšič proposed today a cross-partisan consensus on key development projects and said it made sense to stay on until September if a sufficient majority in parliament is secured.

While he said an early election should be held "as soon as possible", he suggested the timing must be picked so as to ensure that the election outcome produces "a government that will last for a whole term".

Moreover, he said SD ministers had no plan to resign. "The coalition is gone, but the government and the partners in it still exist," he said.

The Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) similarly insists that the best option would be to hold an early election before summer, but party head Karl Erjavec also said today that it would be "acceptable" if voting was held in autumn.

The DeSUS ministers will not leave the government either.

Both Lukšič and Erjavec said their parties would not use the option of putting forward a candidate for prime minister, suggesting the path to an early vote in spring is open.

However, the new Positive Slovenia (PS) leader Zoran Janković, who now has 15 MPs left in the PS deputy group after 12 defected to Bratušek, has not made his plans clear yet and may hold up the early vote if he proposes a PM-designate.

Parliament Speaker Janko Veber, an SD member, suggested today that an early election could even be held in summer.

His position is at odds with the recent Constitutional Court ruling ordering that the archives referendum could not be held on 4 May since the early voting would fall on public holidays and a school holiday.

But Veber says the ruling referred to a referendum, which cannot be compared to the much more important general election.

Summer is not the ideal time given the holidays, "but we should keep this option in mind of the needs of the country require that and if the situation drastically deteriorates," he said.

Things are expected to become clearer in the coming days, during which time Bratušek is expected to decide exactly what to do and Janković's plan may be revealed.

It is expected that the erstwhile coalition partners will meet Saturday or Sunday.


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