The Slovenia Times

Education Minister Steps Down


In a brief statement for the press, Markež said she offered to step down because she was "aware of my responsibility". She could not yet say whether she would return to the ranks of MPs.

"I talked to the minister and when we established that her conduct was utterly inappropriate, she concluded herself what needed to be done," the prime minister said.

He described the case as "unfortunate". He was assured during the vetting that "there was no such misconduct". "I did not expect to face this situation."

With less than a week after appointment and just three days after she formally took over ministerial duties, Markež will be among the minister's with the shortest term on record, trailing only Igor Maher, who lasted two days as infrastructure minister in 2013.

The move was expected given that all coalition partners voiced the willingness to let her go. The speed, however, is surprising, as plagiarism claims were only made this morning by Demokracija, a magazine owned by the opposition Democrats (SDS).

The resignation looks set to deepen the government staffing crisis, as Cerar will now have to look for two new cabinet members.

Markež was already a replacement, succeeding Stanka Setnikar Cankar, who stepped down due to a scandal involving high fees she made on the side as university professor and dean.

Defence Minister Janko Veber meanwhile faces a dismissal motion for overstepping his powers in ordering military intelligence an analysis of the national security impact of Telekom Slovenije privatisation.

Cerar has less than a month to find a new minister of education, science and sport, according to parliamentary procedure. He can also decide to temporarily take over himself or assign the portfolio to another cabinet member.

Beyond the immediate impact on the cabinet, the story could have deeper implications.

Cerar's Modern Centre Party (SMC) made it clear today that Markež would not be welcome in the party's deputy group, with Cerar himself saying her being part of the deputy group was "almost certainly" impossible.

In the event that the SocDems leave the coalition over the Veber scandal, which is not an unlikely outcome, the remaining partners would have only 45 votes in the 90-member legislature without Markež.

But Cerar downplayed this option. He insists that the coalition remains unchanged. "I had to propose Veber's dismissal...I told [SocDem leader] Židan that I expect the party to put forward a new candidate."


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