Ljubo Jasnič becomes new DeSUS head

Ljubljana – The Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS) elected Ljubo Jasnič, a former secretary general of the party, the new party head at a congress in Ljubljana on Saturday. He received 54 out of 117 votes.

Addressing the delegates, Jasnič expressed the wish for genuine cooperation with everyone. “I understand your vote as a voice for unity and the values of DeSUS,” he said, adding everything would be done for DeSUS to enter parliament again at the next election.

In his speech ahead of the vote, Jasnič said the party’s public ratings did not drop because of its programme. “What literally destroyed the party is the lack of respect for the values that the party has represented and should always represent.”

He said values were not up for bargain and could not be offered on a political market.

He was also critical of the proposed the bill on the national Demographic Fund.

But he stressed that it was in the party’s interest to be in a government coalition if possible. “However, DeSUS must take a stance on other political issues,” he said, pointing to government mistakes in the managing of the epidemic.

He assessed that the two key demands from the coalition agreement had not been implemented yet.

The new DeSUS head pointed out that it was important that the relations between the party and the deputy group were good. The party must also have a clear position on all important issues discussed in parliament.

“Only then can the deputy group be expected to adhere to the parties’ views in debates and voting in parliament,” he said.

The party must agree on a set of values in the society and what it is opposed to. “Then it will be easier to decide which government moves we will support and which not.”

The head of DeSUS deputy group, Franc Jurša, told the STA after the congress that MPs would like to mend relations with the party leadership to form the party’s policy together. “If we do that, the future of the party will be bright if not, it is uncertain.”

Whether or not the party will make it to parliament in the next election does not only depend on the outcome of today’s congress. “If we work actively in the field we can achieve a breakthrough in the National Assembly,” he said.

The 74-year-old Jasnič, who was the party’s secretary general between 2010 and 2013, is the third party president in the last year and a half. Last December, after less than a year under Aleksandra Pivec, the party again elected its ex-boss Karl Erjavec, but he stepped down in March.

DeSUS left the Janez Janša government on 17 December.

Jasnič’s two rivals, Srečko Felix Krope, a former senior police officer, and Gorazd Žmavc, former minister for Slovenians abroad, received 38 and 24 votes, respectively. One ballot was invalid.

Julijana Bizjak Mlakar was elected deputy head.