National Assembly confirms new government cabinet

Ljubljana – Prime Minister Robert Golob’s cabinet was sworn in on Wednesday and immediately took office after the line-up was confirmed in a 53:28 vote in the National Assembly 38 days after the general election.

The left-liberal government, a coalition of Golob’s Freedom Movement, Social Democrats (SD) and the Left, takes office amidst heightened international uncertainty due to the war in Ukraine and the looming energy and food crisis.

Golob acknowledged that it would not get the customary 100-day grace period and would have to get down to work right away, which is why his team features a combination of seasoned politicians and experts.

“I’m pleased we have such a good team and I look forward to the weeks, months, years and terms in office ahead, where I know this team will deliver good results,” he said.

The new government team will initially have 17 ministers, three of whom without portfolio, but will be expanded once the act on the government is amended.

Golob has said tackling rising food and energy prices would be an immediate priority, along with making preparations for autumn, when the next wave of Covid is likely to hit.

In the longer term, the government plans to focus on the green transformation and climate change, reform of the health system and social security system, and a sharp focus on knowledge-based services.

Golob was elected on a pledge to normalise society and reform the way politics is done after a turbulent two years under the conservative Janez Janša government.

In his first remarks after the confirmation of the cabinet, he announced that a review of “all damaging measures” of the previous government would be conducted in a week, including all appointments, reassignments and legislative changes.

“We want to have a clear picture,” he said, adding that they would decide what needed to be “restored to its previous shape if we want a normal state.”

While domestic policies have been in the focus in recent weeks, Golob also said the new government would return Slovenia to its rightful place at the EU’s core.

EU partners can expect that the new government will be more predictable and focused on strengthening the EU, instead of “going on solo actions trying to find a starring role.”

Golob formally took over from Janša just hours after he got his new cabinet in a handover ceremony that saw the new and old prime minister take a conciliatory tone that contrasted with heated exchanges they had during the campaign.

Janša advised the new government to take his government as a role model when it comes to achievements.

He said the public finances were in good shape and the seas calmer than when his government took over two years ago, but he acknowledged that the there were many dangerous reefs in the water.

“We wish the government achieves good results. If they are good, it is good for all of us, if they are bad, it will be bad for all of us,” Janša said.

Golob thanked Janša for a productive and in-depth handover and for everything good his government had done. “I would have done many things differently, but this does not reduce the importance of the successes they achieved.”

He said they “agreed on many things,” including the fortuitous timing, with the government starting its term early enough so that it can prepare through the summer for the challenges ahead in autumn.

“I wish the seas will be calm. But we have the privilege of the voters having been clear and giving us a lot of seats in parliament so that we have a firm coalition.

“I am confident that we can be successful and will not have to look for excuses anywhere outside of our circle… It is now time to stop talking and get down to work,” he said.