The Slovenia Times

Cabinet Complete as Parliament Appoints New Ministers


Katič, 45, an MP for the Social Democrats (SD), replaces Janko Veber, who was dismissed in early April for ordering the military intelligence to analyse the implications of the planned sale of telecoms provider Telekom Slovenije to a foreign buyer.

In the committee hearing Katič highlighted the need to improve the defence system as well as the protection and rescue system. She called for a rebound of defence spending, which has dropped to under 1% of GDP, well below NATO requirements, amidst the multi-year austerity drive.

She has also suggested she would seek a replacement at the helm of the army intelligence, noting after her appointment today that she would "accept his resignation".

Before being elected MP last year and subsequently the deputy speaker of parliament, Katič was head of the Velenje City Municipality administration from 1998.

Makovec Brenčič, 45, a Ljubljana Faculty of Economics professor, succeeds Klavdija Markež, who resigned at the beginning of April just days after appointment over the allegation that her master's thesis was plagiarised.

She is a vice-chancellor of the University of Ljubljana and a full professor at the Ljubljana Faculty of Economics at the international economy department. She has also chaired the National Agency for the Quality of Higher Education (NAKVIS) and was a vice-dean of the Faculty of Economics.

She emphasised during her hearing that she would strive for dialogue with all stakeholders in education, stronger ties between research and education, and the preservation of the quality of public schools that will be accessible to everyone.

In her first statement after confirmation, Makovec Brenčič said her brief required foremost a "development push" consisting of "future-minded steps" across the entire educational system.

The plenary debate today saw the opposition highlighting in particular Katič's lack of experience, while the United Left (ZL) criticised Makovec Brenčič's perceived adherence to neo-liberal doctrines.

More broadly, the right claimed that the appointments merely highlighted the deeper problems of Miro Cerar's cabinet.

Democrat (SDS) MP Jože Tanko said that by constantly replacing ministers, the government was paying the "tax for new faces without experience and the required authority".

Cerar himself described the candidates as having "extensive experience" in their respective fields.

Katič formally took over in the evening and Makovec Benčič will take up her post tomorrow morning, as the cabinet is restored to its full line-up following several months of staffing turmoil.

Interestingly, the appointments also reinforce the status of the government as the cabinet the highest number of women: there are now eight women in the 17 cabinet-level positions.


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