Five opposition factions seek to oust environment minister

Slovenija, Ljubljana, 10.02.2021, 10. februar 2021 DZ RS,  vložen predlog, konstruktivna nezaupnica vladi, predsednik DeSUS Karel Erjavec, kandidat za predsednika vlade, parlament, poslanci, opozicija, koalicija, preštevanje, glasovi, politične igre, politika, KUL Foto: Žiga Živulovič jr./BOBO

Ljubljana – The five centre-left deputy groups in parliament have tabled a motion of no confidence in Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak in the wake of release of a leaked recording in which he is heard trading favours with the boss of a spa company in his previous capacity as economy minister.

The Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), Left, Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) and the Group of Non-Affiliated MPs (NeP) had been considering filing an ouster motion against Vizjak after the waters act proposed by his ministry was overwhelmingly rejected in the July referendum.

However, it was the recent disclosure of his alleged conversation 14 years ago with Bojan Petan, the long-serving CEO of spa company Terme Čatež and of the publishing group DZS, which prompted the parties to file the motion on Wednesday. Both Petan and Vizjak disclaim the authenticity of the recording.

Addressing reporters, LMŠ deputy group leader Brane Golubović said Vizjak should have been a “guardian of the environment, nature, public interest”, something that “he simply cannot do, or possibly doesn’t event understand”. Instead, he is a “guardian of specific interests”.

The first charge against Vizjak is what Vizjak described as his unlawful and opaque acting to the detriment of the state by suggesting Petan in the battle for control of Terme Čatež 14 years ago how to avoid paying tax. Golubović also raised the issue of Terme Čatež being granted increased volumes of thermal water to pump under Vizjak’s current term in office.

Vizjak is being blamed for what the LMŠ official described as the harmful waters act, which he said was in contravention of the constitution, international conventions and environmental law; for limiting the scope for experts and NGOs to be involved as laws are drawn up, and favouring the interests of profit over public interest in the waters act.