Počivalšek says early election unlikely

Ljubljana – The leader of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) and Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek believes that the next election will be held as scheduled. Speaking to the newspaper Večer, he does not completely rule out the possibility of an early election though, but also notes that a snap election would not suit his party at the moment.

“To use sports jargon, we’re playing the last ten minutes of the term, and then there’s the referee’s extra time. I think the referee will not blow for time too early, first we need to finish the presidency of the Council of the EU,” Počivalšek told Večer’s Saturday edition.

Currently, an early election would not suit the SMC as the party is in the process of restructuring, forging ties and forming a coalition for the next election, he said.

The party will hold a congress on 4 December where it will be renamed, Počivalšek pointed out, adding that the new name would reflect its centrist liberal politics. The congress will also serve as a platform to unveil pre-election cooperation agreements, he said.

Commenting on the opposition Alenka Bratušek Party’s (SAB) proposal that the SMC be expelled from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), Počivalšek said he was looking forward to a discussion with ALDE.

He plans to defend his party’s decisions and show that the SMC is, he said, a centrist party that can work together with various parties and act as a bulwark against deviations from the norms.

“Other Slovenian parties from ALDE are not centrist, they see liberalism only in a solid coalition with the Left,” he said, calling on all liberal and economic-oriented members of the SAB, Social Democrats (SD) and Marjan Šarec Party (LMŠ) to join an emerging political group that is being spearheaded by the SMC.

Following Prime Minister Janez Janša’s hints of a possible lockdown due to the poor epidemiological situation in the country, Počivalšek stated that there would be no more closures of the economy due to Covid-19.

“I say this loud and clear because we can no longer afford this,” he said, adding that there was no communication noise between him and Janša in this regard.