The Slovenia Times

Zares Officially Leaves the Coalition


Ministers Darja Radic (economy), Irma Pavlinic Krebs (public administration) and Majda Sirca (culture) tendered their resignations to PM Borut Pahor today, Radic told a press conference at the party's headquarters, which however was not attended by Zares leader Gregor Golobic.

Golobic officially informed the prime minister and his only coalition partner left, LibDem (LDS) president Katarina Kresal, of his party's departure from the coalition in a letter, reiterating his party's reasons for the move.

Stepping down as higher education, science and technology minister already at the beginning of the month, he believes that Kresal and Pahor fail to face the reality of being incapable of pushing through any meaningful measures.

Moreover, Golobic listed the need for an operative and trusted government, which would end the political crisis as one of the main reasons for his party's exit from the government.

Zares left the coalition after its demand for a thorough overhaul of the government - which also implied the naming of a new prime minister - was not met by Pahor in the wake of the defeat at the 5 June super-referendum.

"It is no longer possible to perform important tasks in this government," Radic pointed out today, adding that she therefore saw no sense in carrying on her work. This government does not enjoy the trust of the people and has not been operative for quite a while, she said.

Apart from the measures directly linked to the Economy Ministry, nothing has been done while she was minister to make the economy more competitive and create new jobs, Radic believes. She sees early elections as the best solution for the government crisis.

Radic joined the government less than a year ago, after Matej Lahovnik left the post in early July 2010 following a split with Golobic. Prior to that she was the state secretary.

Her short term in Pahor's government was marked by disputes on energy issues, especially the planned construction of a new coal-fired generator at the Termoelektrarna Sostanj (TES) plant, and on the powers of the Capital Assets Management Agency, which manages the state's holdings in companies.

She oversaw the signing of a deal on a Slovenian-Russian joint venture in charge of the South Stream pipeline project and the launch of the Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), the first EU agency seated in Slovenia.

Pavlinic Krebs meanwhile focused in her term on streamlining the public administration, but her ideas were met with opposition from the public sector trade unions and fellow government officials. She said today that the country needed actions, because "it didn't exit the crisis the way it should have".

Pavlinic Krebs's major successes were the signing of a 2010 annex to the collective bargaining agreement for public sector employees, which delayed planned pay rises, and the inclusion of a temporary ban on hiring in the public sector into the recent emergency measures law.

As culture minister, Sirca - who also served as Culture Ministry state secretary from 1997 to 2000 - devoted most of her energy to media legislation, having the act on the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) and the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija passed in parliament. The latter was subsequently rejected in referendum. A new media law is currently in parliamentary procedure.

The National Assembly is expected to get acquainted with the resignations of the three ministers at its plenary in July. Sirca said she would return to parliament and stay committed to her work in culture. Radic too will stay politically active, while Pavlinic Krebs will revive her career in law.

Head of the Zares deputy group Franco Juri told the STA today that Zares MPs would from now on act as not an ideological but a "responsible" opposition. "Now we have no more coalition commitments and can express ourselves more freely as well as vote on the laws that don't convince us," he said.

Among the issues that the party will be highlighting from now on are the construction of the new generator at TES and the participation of the Slovenian troops in Afghanistan.

Juri, who said he would continue to head the deputy group even after Golobic returns to parliament, said that Zares would not back the prime minister if he tied his vote of confidence to the supplementary budget.

"Our proposal was a thorough overhaul of the government, starting with the prime minister," he said.

Zares is the third biggest parliamentary party in Slovenia with nine MP seats and an MEP. It was set up in October 2007 by former members of the LDS, led by Matej Lahovnik. Golobic has been the party president since its founding.


More from Nekategorizirano