Poklukar not founding new party but sees himself as minister after election

Ljubljana – Health Minister Janez Poklukar has rejected in an interview with the STA speculations that he would found his own party before the coming general election, due next year. What is more, he does not intend to stand in the election, but should a chance arise, he sees himself continuing as health minister after the election.

“It’s true though that ministership is a political office. But I don’t see myself as a politician, I see myself primarily as a healthcare expert,” he said in the interview the STA plans to run tomorrow.

Poklukar became minister at the end of February after his predecessor Tomaž Gantar resigned, but has never regretted joining the government.

“I’m the kind of person who is always looking for bigger challenges to be up to them and at the same time to help as large a segment of society as possible.”

This is the reason why he had decided to head the Jesenice hospital (2014-2019) and later UKC Ljubljana, Slovenia’s largest medical centre (August 2019-February 2021).

He however admits heading the Health Ministry has been “extremely hard” because of the epidemiological situation and the general situation in the healthcare system.

“Whatever goal I set myself, I try to reach it, giving it my best. It’s true everything does not always work out, but it’s not difficult to invest 100% of yourself into what you believe in.”

Despite faring well in popularity ratings, Poklukar, a 42-year old internist and a father of five, does not intend to cash in on his popularity in the elections.

“I’m not founding any party and I’m not talking about it with anyone.” However, he does not exclude continuing as health minister after the election.

“We’ve created an excellent team over these months and a new organisational scheme at the Health Ministry, and together with the staff that worked at the ministry before we have set up a good work atmosphere.

“I believe we’ve shown that we can address the problems that have piled up in Slovenian healthcare, and if we get a chance, we’ll be happy to continue doing it.”