Analysts divided on whether govt will finish its term

Ljubljana – After yesterday’s failed vote of no confidence in the government, political analysts seem to be divided as to what this means for the coalition. While Rok Čakš believes it has made the coalition more stable and that this marks the end of attempts to bring down the government, Aljaž Pengov Bitenc expect more ouster motions.

The Janez Janša government survived a motion of no confidence last night as only 40 MPs voted in favour in a secret ballot, six too few. There were seven votes against and six invalid ballots, whereas the majority of the coalition MPs did not pick up the ballots.

“Now that MPs in the National Assembly have finally counted themselves, it is clear that the coalition is more stable than it was only yesterday,” conservative columnist Čakš told the STA after the vote.

Although this is formally a minority coalition, its range in parliament is broader and goes beyond the three government parties. After yesterday’s vote it can be expected that this coalition will finish its term, he said.

Meanwhile, political blogger and podcaster Pengov Bitenc belies things are not that simple. “If we toss around the numbers, we cannot tell that for sure, because it seems that not everyone from the [Modern Centre Party] SMC were against the no confidence motion. This could open some questions within their deputy group,” he said in response to the STA’s question of whether the coalition is now more stable.

He stressed that the proponents of the no confidence vote, the Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL), have 40 votes and the government 44, counting those who voted against and who did not pick up ballots.

Pengov Bitenc sees the result as a small defeat for Erjavec only because it seems that the deputy group of the Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS), which he heads, was not united.

He thinks they will need to discuss what their future steps will be if this was not prearranged and the vote was but a show.

Čakš expects no major government reshuffles. Even though the government can count on more than 46 votes, appointing new ministers is not easy for any minority government.

However, some replacements of ministers could be expected to reflect the actual political power of each of the coalition parties and the votes they have in parliament.

“And in this respect it seems now, after the vote, that the SMC and NSi are neck-and-neck, while the distribution of ministers, including the parliamentary speaker is significantly in favour of the SMC,” said the editor of web portal Domovina.

Pengov Bitenc also expects no major problems with government reshuffles and the appointment of the new health minister. “Every time the cards are reshuffled things can happen, certain egos get out of control and then somebody demands more than the other person think they are entitled to and we have an argument.”

He believes yesterday’s failure does not mean the end of joint efforts of the opposition. He pointed to the upcoming motions to oust ministers for which, however, 46 votes will be needed. He thinks the motions will fail, but they could also be close calls, which will force the coalition parties, government and the prime minister to pay attention.

“What I think is positive in the whole story is that at least for a while the centre of political life has moved to parliament, where it should be all along. All criticism regarding the managing of epidemic aside, one of the main opposition grievances was the concentration of power in the executive branch at the expense of the National Assembly.”

Pengov Bitenc also believes this is the first of several no confidence motions to be filed in the coming months. He thinks the mental barrier that you need 46 votes to file the motion is now gone, as it was demonstrated it can be done with ten votes as well and the rest can be collected during the vote.

But Čakš begs to differ. “It is not just the failure itself, which was silently expected, but the number of votes that were gathered in the no confidence vote is undoubtedly a cold shower for KUL.”

He is convinced the vote marks an end to the ambitions for power for the left-leaning opposition in this term and the start of preparations for election next year.

The opposition will formally stay connected but in fact a battle for political dominance will be on among left-leaning parties, for the title of Janša’s main rival in the election campaign.