Ljubljana – An informal coalition of centre-left opposition parties has filed a motion of no confidence in the Janez Janša government with the backing of 42 of the 90 deputies of the National Assembly. The crux of their argument is the government’s failure to cope with the coronavirus epidemic.
The motion, which puts forward Karl Erjavec as candidate for prime minister, was submitted after one of the four deputies of his Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS) declined to contribute his signature in support.
Apart from the three DeSUS MPs, the signatures have been supplied by MPs from the ranks of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), the Left and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), joined in the Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL).
Announcing that the long-awaited motion had been tabled at last, Erjavec said he regretted they had only 42 signatures, but added: “I’m convinced we can succeed. The country’s de-normalisation needs to be stopped.
“Violation of fundamental constitutional principles needs to be prevented such as interference in the judiciary, prevention of media freedom, interference in the police, state prosecution […] I’m not going to go into details that you can all follow.”
Erjavec went on to say that Slovenia’s international status today was quite different from the one 30 years ago. “Our partners are countries that have problems with the rule of law and we’ve moved away from the core Europe.”
Him as well as the leaders of the four other parties also took the government to task over its management of the coronavirus crisis, asserting that Slovenia was a global leader in terms of coronavirus infections and deaths.
“The government has caused great confusion and people’s distrust of the measures, which means they don’t trust this government,” said Erjavec as he argued the government should step down itself for mismanaging the epidemic alone.
If they manage to form a government, Erjavec said it would not be his government but a government of people who wanted Slovenia return on track.
Should they fail, he believes the opposition parties must tie up closer together because the centre-left bloc is dispersed. “Unless we end this dark story next week, I trust we will in the next election,” he said.
Earlier, DeSUS MP Branko Simonovič said he could not sign on to a motion that was tantamount to a motion of no confidence in the party considering that DeSUS member Tomaž Gantar had served as health minister until the party quitted the government in late December.
In a written statement, Simonovič added that in the secret ballot on the motion at the National Assembly next week he “will vote for the benefit of the citizens”.
Meanwhile, the head of the DeSUS deputy faction, Franc Jurša, addressing reporters after the morning meeting with Erjavec, said that while three DeSUS MPs would sign on to the motion, they planned not to join KUL, but would continue as an independent deputy faction.
“I believe the heads must cool down a bit, in particular in DeSUS,” Erjavec commented, adding that he believed the outcome of the secret ballot could be quite different. “If we fail, it means MPs support politics that even Europe no longer understands,” he said.
The secret ballot on the no-confidence motion is expected to be held on Wednesday when Erjavec will need to get an outright majority of 46 votes to replace Janša as prime minister.
Marjan Šarec, the previous PM and LMŠ leader, noted that his minority government too had 42 MPs in parliament until he resigned in late January, thus paving the way for the Janša centre-right government.
If the vote of no confidence succeeded, Šarec said it would be a victory of the rule of law, if not, it would be a win of dark forces. “The vote will show who’s for the situation as it is, and who’s for putting the country back on track, so it can preside the EU without having to feel ashamed,” he said.
Likewise, SD leader Tanja Fajon said they would do everything in their power to replace what she said was a harmful government. They had no intention of repeating the mistakes of past left-leaning governments, and planned to work until the end of the term.
SAB leader Alenka Bratušek, who served as prime minister during the previous financial crisis when Slovenia was on the verge of an international bailout, lambasted the government’s coronavirus strategy and communication.
Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, accused Janez Janša of copying the politics of outgoing US President Donald Trump, a continuation of which would lead to the state falling apart. The vote would be a test of whether the MPs followed their conscience or political career.