Hojs says possibility of early election on the table

Ljubljana – Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told commercial broadcaster POP TV on Sunday that the possibility of an early election was completely justified. The ruling Democrats (SDS) are discussing this possibility a lot, he said, adding that going to the polls a few months earlier would make no difference as the government was practically at the end of its term.

“I’m convinced that it doesn’t matter whether we have an early election a month or two earlier or whether we have a regular election; we’re practically at the end of our term,” said Hojs, who is also SDS deputy leader.

The party is discussing this possibility with its leader and Prime Minister Janez Janša on all levels, not just among senior party officials, Hojs said, adding that opinions were currently divided after having been “absolutely different” at the start of this year when it had been believed the party should “persevere to the end”.

“But we will also keep an eye on the public’s reaction – every smart politician keeps an eye on the opinion of the people on the ground; they are the ones who assess our work most realistically,” said the minister, who is critical of pollsters.

“If people think it is more appropriate for us to go to the polls earlier, we will certainly follow such suggestions and opinions,” he added.

Responding to his statements, the opposition Marjan Šarec Party (LMŠ) pointed out it had said many times that it would be too late if the government had resigned yesterday.

“If the government was serious, it would have already resigned and called an election,” the LMŠ wrote in a press release, highlighting that an early election was the only solution to defuse the situation in the country and “put an end to this agony”.

The party said it was ready for an election, adding that it had wanted to go the polls already at the beginning of last year, “but unfortunately some opportunists helped install the current government”. This was in reference to the developments following the resignation of the Marjan Šarec government.

The opposition Social Democrats (SD) also responded with its MP Matjaž Nemec saying the party would believe Hojs’s words only when Janša resigned. The SD agrees with the LMŠ that this resignation is long overdue as the government, Nemec said, has lost people’s trust. The party is also ready for an election, he added.

“The fact is that Janša will choose a moment that suits him best,” Nemec said, adding that the prime minister’s goal was a low turnout, but people would head to the polls because they had had enough.

The opposition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) sees Hojs’s statements “as a way of disciplining DeSUS and SNS MPs who have not blindly followed the proposals of the government and the coalition in recent votes”. The party does not believe Janša would actually step down.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Left Luka Mesec told POP TV he did not often believe Hojs but this time he did, saying no one could deny anymore that the situation in Slovenia had derailed and urging an early election.

According to the public broadcaster TV Slovenija, the SDS later explained that Hojs shared his personal point of view in a media appearance. The party has not taken a stance on Hojs’s statements as it has not yet taken a decision on a potential early election, the SDS said.

Also responding, the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) said it did not have a problem with an early election.