Ljubljana – The opposition centre-left failed to oust Interior Minister Aleš Hojs in the early hours of Tuesday in what was the second such attempt. A total of 44 MPs voted in favour of the ouster motion, two short of the required majority, whereas 37 were against.
The initiators of the motion, the Left, Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) and unaffiliated MPs, as well as Ivan Hršak from the opposition Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS) voted in favour of Hojs’s leaving office.
Meanwhile, the coalition parties, the Democratic Party (SDS), New Slovenia (NSi) and Modern Centre Party (SMC), voted against the motion.
DeSUS MP Robert Polnar abstained, and MPs from the National Party (SNS) that usually supports coalition-sponsored proposals were not present, nor were the two minority MPs.
The vote came after a 16-hour debate in parliament, during which the centre-left opposition reiterated its accusations against Hojs, including the excessive use of repressive means by the police during protests in Ljubljana and politicisation of the force.
Hojs dismissed all the accusations, saying he had actually provided police officers with better working conditions.
What raised a lot of dust among MPs and in the public was Hojs’s move during an address by Left’s Violeta Tomić. The minister started eating a snack while she was making her points and was then warned that it was inappropriate to eat in the parliament.
“You don’t eat in the chamber and you’re not in a cinema,” deputy Speaker Tina Heferle said, asking him to put on a face mask. Hojs then left the chamber.
He later told the N1 portal he had treated himself to some peanuts and had been told that was inappropriate. In his opinion, it is more decent “to eat some peanuts and watch MPs live than to leave the chamber”.
Following the vote, Hojs said he had been expecting such an outcome, highlighting he would continue to do his work until the end of his term the same way he had done it “since day one” in office.
“Things are moving, laws are being passed, the police force is being sorted out, so I think we will continue with this work,” he said.
His ministry intends to table the police powers bill before the end of the term. According to Hojs, it is about to be finalised and will be tabled if it proves to have sufficient support among the coalition parties.
While the ouster debate was going on in parliament, an art installation was set up in front of the parliament building as part of a project called Pavilion of Democracy, which is organised, among others, by the ZRC SAZU research centre and explores the link between art and civil society movements from the 1980s to the present day.
The installation depicted the front of the parliament building on a huge poster featuring figures of special police units instead of what actually adorns the parliament’s facade – figures of citizens. ZRC SAZU told the STA the installation had coincided with the ouster debate incidentally.
During the first attempt to oust Hojs in September 2020 a total of 38 MPs voted in favour and 43 against.