Ljubljana – The Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) endorsed their election manifesto and platform on Saturday, setting out solutions which they say should restore a normality in Slovenia and pave the way for a development breakthrough. Marjan Šarec, the former PM, said the next government would have its work cut out fixing the consequences of the incumbent one.
Addressing an online congress, Šarec said the new government would have to make replacements “where those in power at the moment have politically subjugated institutions that are supposed to be independent and vital to the state’s functioning and survival”.
He said this was not a threat, but rather a promise that the citizens deserved. “If we come to power only to fall back on old patterns of the centre-left, which would not want to get on the wrong side of anyone, we won’t deserve that power.”
In a retort to Matej Tonin, the leader of New Slovenia (NSi), who accused him of planning purges and revanchism, Šarec told reporters “it is clear who supports dictatorship in Slovenia and who persists in the government and is supporting what we’re witnessing”.
Šarec said their proposals relied on respect for the constitutional order, separation of powers and their autonomy, human rights and freedom, the rule of law and welfare state.
With the new platform, the LMŠ is asserting its profile as a development-oriented liberal party “that wants to work for the broader good and see to the development of society as a whole”.
Under the slogan Normalisation. Solutions. Development, the platform sums up proposals in 12 points with a view to building a modern, well-functioning and a citizen-friendly state.
The main goal is a development breakthrough “based on investment in science and efforts for a high value added economy”, with proposals included aimed at making life better for all generations.
To make housing affordable for young people, they propose creating housing co-operatives and a public rental service and increasing the fund of public rental flats where the tenants would get the opportunity to acquire their first own home through rent payment.
They promise to establish long-term care as a new pillar of welfare state, and make public healthcare accessible to all, suggesting to scrap the top-up health insurance and introduce payment of services based on realisation rather than plan.
Šarec said one of the major challenges would be fixing the consequences of of the Covid-19 pandemic in various fields, including tackling waiting times for health services.
The party also pledges to raise net salaries for all employees by reducing the tax burden similar as this has been done for the holiday allowance and the 13th pay, and extend the measure to the Christmas bonus or 14th pay.
They plan to issue dedicated fixed-return state bonds where citizens would be encouraged to invest their bank deposits to build youth housing, energy projects and infrastructure.
The party also proposes increasing funding for research and innovation by an extra EUR 100 million annually by 2026, and forming a new ministry for research, development and science with the minister to be made one of the deputy prime ministers.
Coping with climate change is also listed as one of the key challenges where the party proposes setting up an independent panel on climate change. Šarec also underscored the need to ensure the country’s energy independence.
Other goals include a stimulating, stable, internationally-competitive and red tape-free business environment and healthy public finances, which Šarec said should be resilient to all types of stress tests. They also pledge to aspire to restore social dialogue.
Vojmir Urlep, a member of the programme council, underscored the need to secure economic growth, which should be attained based on a green transition, digital transformation and increasing value added.
The party will insist on reforming the electoral law by introducing a non-mandatory relative preference vote at the level of electoral units. They also advocate for an independent and expertise-based judiciary and media and fostering dialogue with the civil society and professional groups.
Šarec said they had proved to be a principled party. “What we advocated in 2018 we also advocate today,” he said, referring to him leading a minority government from 2018 to 2020, whose standards he said “are unattainable for those in power today”.
Among those addressing the event was also Nika Kovač, a prominent campaigner for civil and other rights, who spoke about the importance of alliance between parties and civil society, and Branko Meh, the head of the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business, who expressed willingness for cooperation with parties advocating for the prosperity of the Slovenian economy.
The congress was also greeted by MEP Stephan Sejourne, the leader of Renew Europe in the European Parliament, who supported the LMŠ in “uncovering abuse by the incumbent government and change of power in Slovenia”.