Health Minister Gantar resigns after his party leaves the coalition

Ljubljana – Health Minister Tomaž Gantar resigned on Friday after his Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS) decided to leave the coalition. The National Assembly took note of his resignation in the afternoon and Prime Minister Janez Janša is stepping in as interim health minister.

“I’ve always tried to do my job conscientiously, with all due responsibility and commitment. I believe we did important work together,” Gantar said in his letter of resignation.

After DeSUS quit the coalition yesterday, party leader Karl Erjavec initially said it would be up to Janša to decide what to do with both DeSUS ministers, Gantar and Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek.

It was later pointed out, by Janša and several others, that DeSUS bylaws require ministers to resign if the party leaves the coalition.

This was Gantar’s third time as health minister, all of his terms being marked by crises. Before dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in Slovenia this year, he also led the ministry in two governments in 2012 and 2013, when Slovenia was facing the economic crisis.

This is his second resignation. In 2013 he resigned after failing to carry out much-needed reforms, pointing to corruption in healthcare.

This is the second ministerial change under the incumbent government. The first to resign was former DeSUS leader Aleksandra Pivec, who served as Agriculture Minister.

She was succeeded by party colleague Jože Podgoršek. It would be expected that the other DeSUS minister would also resign but Podgoršek has not handed in his resignation.

Meanwhile, DeSUS leader Erjavec is forging ahead with the decision to leave the coalition and vie for the role of the prime minister. He said today he was happy with the talks he had held with party’s five MPs, not all of whom have been happy about leaving the coalition. MPs, however, are not giving any statements.