Brdo pri Kranju – The leaders of coalition parties stressed on Thursday their commitment to continue working together as the government faces a vote of no-confidence in parliament. They plan to analyse the situation by 15 February, according to Prime Minister Janez Janša. A cabinet reshuffle is also possible.
Janša had originally expected the Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS), which formally left the coalition in December but whose MPs currently still support the coalition, to make it clear until yesterday whether they supported the government or whether they would become a purely opposition party.
While DeSUS has not provided clarity about that yet, Janša said today the answer lay in the vote on the latest economic stimulus act, which all five DeSUS deputies endorsed earlier this week.
The decision-making bodies of all three coalition parties will analyse the situation by 15 February, whereupon “we will continue the meeting and agree a possible sharpening of the focus of priorities going forward,” Janša said.
Labelling the no-confidence vote planned by the opposition group known as the Constitutional Arch Coalition as a “destructive motion of no-confidence”, Janša said these parties had lost their way and now had to “wrap up this procedure somehow”.
“In the given situation it is right to count our votes. But it’s clear that nothing will come out of this,” he said.
Matej Tonin, the president of New Slovenia (NSi), similarly said he was looking forward to the vote and the chance to “consolidate the situation”.
This will be an opportune moment to conduct a cabinet reshuffle “to distribute the burden more fairly” and “refresh the cabinet,” he said, noting that this would involve the NSi as well as the other coalition partners.
If DeSUS is no longer regarded as a member of the coalition, two posts held by DeSUS ministers would have to be divided among the remaining coalition members. Commentators see the NSi as being the biggest beneficiary in terms of ministerial posts.
Zdravko Počivalšek, the leader of the Modern Centre Party (SMC), said the motion of no-confidence was an opportunity to “end this farce and interrupt this artificial creation of a government crisis”.
He said the bulk of the coalition agreement was being implemented, but a few things would have to be sped up. He highlighted legalisation of the production of medical marijuana as a particular area of interest for the SMC.
Janša said all parliamentary parties would receive an invitation next week to cooperate with the government, an initiative similar to the one he launched after taking office. At that time, only the opposition National Party (SNS) and both minority MPs signed a cooperation agreement with the coalition.
“If you ask them, they have good experience with the cooperation. Perhaps this will entice others from the opposition to reconsider,” Janša said.
The opposition, associated in the informal KUL coalition, completely ruled out cooperation with the government, arguing the invitation was meant to shift part of the responsibility for the situation in the country on the opposition.
Marjan Šarec of the LMŠ, the largest opposition party, said it was more than obvious the invitation was meant for Janša to make all parties assume part of the responsibility for the situation.
“Signing an agreement with somebody who epitomises non-cooperation and who always blames others for all his mistakes would be, to put it mildly, silly,” he tweeted.
The Social Democrats (SD) see no possibility for cooperation as long as Janša’s Democrats (SDS) “spread fake news through their media, ignore the opposition’s proposals, discredit those with different views, and subjugate institutions and media”.
SD vice president Matjan Nemec said “the call for help” comes when the SDS realised that it had a minority government and cannot even appoint ministers. He thus sees it as “dust being thrown into one’s eyes”.
Similarly, Luka Mesec of the Left tweeted the opposition should not let itself get fooled. “They have sowed discord for ten months and then just before the vote of no-confidence, we get two invitations in a week,” he said, adding this is because they know we would turn them down and then they would blame us for causing divisions.
The Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) meanwhile wrote it would be best if the government “bids farewell”. “It’s high time they realised that.”