Ljubljana – The Pensioners’ Party’s (DeSUS) decision to leave the government was welcomed by the four centre-left parties from the informal Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL). The Modern Centre Party (SMC), which KUL would also like to leave the government, and the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) said the health crisis is no time to topple the government.
The KUL parties would now like to file a constructive vote of no-confidence in the Janez Janša government as soon as possible, expectedly this year.
While they support DeSUS leader Karl Erjavec as a candidate for prime minister-designate, the formal decision is to be taken by the parties’ top bodies.
“I’m aware DeSUS had a difficult choice to make. But today it proved it put its values above political calculations,” Social Democrat (SD) leader Tanja Fajon told the press.
SAB leader Alenka Bratušek said: “I would have wanted it to realise earlier this government is doing a poor job and is leaving the country in a severe crisis. But better late than never.”
Luka Mesec of the Left now expects DeSUS MPs to leave the coalition too as soon as possible.
LMŠ leader Marjan Šarec would like the vote of no-confidence to be filed before the holidays, although he could not give any specific dates, while Bratušek would like a deadline to be set.
The opposition leaders intend to meet Erjavec shortly, but could not say when exactly.
“He will be formally a candidate for prime minister-designate only when the no-confidence vote is submitted. Given the current balance of power this is definitely the only possibility,” Šarec said about Erjavec’s potential new role.
The four parties also expect the SMC or some of its MPs to follow in DeSUS’s footsteps.
If four DeSUS MPs – as the fifth is to be expelled from the deputy group – join the KUL coalition, it will still be three votes short of the 46 needed for the vote of no-confidence to succeed.
SMC leader Zdravko Počivalšek meanwhile reiterated his support for the SMC to stay in the government.
He intends to propose to the party’s top bodies and to SMC MPs to stay in the government to implement the coalition agreement and continue to fight the epidemic.
“The times call for operative and substantive politics, not for toppling [the government] and for an ideological battle.”
The SMC is very happy with how its agenda is being implemented in this government, but Počivalšek admitted it was “bothered by some moves by the main coalition party”.
Similarly, NSi deputy group leader Jožef Horvat said that in this health crisis, Slovenia needed a stable government and a stable political situation.
He said DeSUS’s decision was legitimate but the government would keep working. He believes it is hard to predict how things will unfold because Erjavec must secure 46 votes if he wants to be a prime minister-designate.
If KUL manages to form a government, Horvat said politics would be stirred by “people who were not elected to parliament” in the 2018 election, referring to Erjavec, Bratušek and Fajon as well as to economist Jože P. Damijan, who had come up with the idea for an alternative government.
NSi leader Matej Tonin said the government still had “a solid 47 votes” and would focus on containing the epidemic and the recovery of the economy. He thanked all MPs for their statesman stance “despite severe pressure”.