Opposition pledges constructive but firm action

Ljubljana – The two conservative parties that moved to opposition after the 24 April general election have promised not to abuse parliamentary tools at their disposal, but will use them when necessary, also to fight against the coalition’s “misconceptions”.

Talking with the STA, the leader of the deputy faction of the Democratic Party (SDS) Jelka Godec said the party would not abuse the instruments afforded under the parliamentary rules of procedure like the previous opposition did in the past term.

Godec said the centre-left opposition parties in the previous term blocked the Janez Janša coalition’s work in an exceptionally critical time of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The SDS tabled dozens of legislative proposals at the maiden session of new parliament, including media bills and the week later also filed for referenda on changes to the government act and on a bill on the public broadcaster.

As concerns were raised that parliament may be in for a period of constant referendum initiatives, Godec insists the bid for the referendum on the government act was but a way to encourage the new coalition to rethink whether Slovenia indeed needs a government of nearly 20 ministers.

The party believes the number of portfolios is being extended “to secure jobs to some politicians who were not elected by people in the election”, which is a reference to the leaders of the LMŠ and SAB parties, Marjan Šarec and Alenka Bratušek.

Meanwhile, the sole purpose of the referendum on the RTV Slovenija act was to achieve that “people decide for themselves whether they want to pay the licence fee or not”.

Janez Cigler Kralj, the leader of New Slovenia (NSi) deputies, says their job will be to form a centre-right alternative to the government. They plan to be correct and composed but also firm in their watchdog role, which he says is crucial given the government’s strong majority.

They will carefully monitor the ruling coalition’s proposals; “We will be the guardians of good solutions and fighters against the coalition’s radical left misconceptions”.

The NSi will not just warn of “misguided moves”, but will use all political means at their disposal. However, he says they will not block proposals for the sake of blocking, but only apply the strongest tools when necessary. They will also table their own proposals.

Both the SDS and the NSi count on their cooperation to continue in the opposition where both deputy leaders say they will act based on their party platforms. Cigler Kralj made a point of saying that they were two independent parties.

“We can discuss and agree some things, but differ on other and then each pursues their own interests, we take this is part of the political process,” says the NSi deputy group leader.

The party did not sign on to the SDS proposal to call referenda on the government act amendments or RTV Slovenija bill, because they are not joining initiatives that they “do not find sensible or constructive at the moment in the sense of process”.

The SDS lost the post of one chair of the parliamentary working bodies after the coalition backed the NSi’s proposal to be given the post of chair of the Public Finance Oversight Commission.

Godec sees the coalition’s move as flouting the rules of procedure. “The fear of the SDS chairing the Public Finance Oversight Commission is obviously too great, given the accusations and conclusions we read about in the foreign media about Prime Minister Robert Golob’s financial dealings.”

The NSi has indicated it may support some of the coalition’s proposals, such those to create provinces and amend the electoral law. However, with the latter “it’ll all depend on the proposal on the table”, says Cigler Kralj.