SD announces motion to oust Culture Minister Simoniti

Ljubljana. Kandidat za ministra za kulturo Vasko Simoniti.

Ljubljana – Former Culture Minister Dejan Prešiček from the opposition Social Democrats (SD) announced on Friday that a motion to oust Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti would be filed before 8 February, Culture Day. He said this would probably be one of the biggest presents to Slovenian culture for the holiday.

According to Prešiček, the government is jeopardising vital aspects of the country with its actions.

The opposition party blames Simoniti for failing to enter into a dialogue with culture workers, for making unilateral moves regarding the self-employed in culture, and for failing to pay out funds for Slovenian film despite the contracts already been signed.

“There are cases in other countries where culture workers are looking for best solutions for the field in cooperation with the ministry,” Prešiček said.

According to the SD, Simoniti has no vision how to get through the health crisis and make sure the sector will be revived again. The party, which is drawing up the motion together with partners form the opposition, believes there is more than enough reasons for Simoniti to go.

Violeta Tomić of the Left said there were more than enough reasons for the motion – from unlawful attempts to strip persons of the status of culture worker, underfunding of Slovenian film, attempts to evict NGOs from the Metelkova location, to the management of the ministry itself.

The Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) told the STA that the decisions by Simoniti and the government “have strongly undermined practically the entire culture sector and functioning of cultural institutions,” adding that it would support the motion.

Support was also announced by the LMŠ, whose president Marjan Šarec said on Twitter that “under this government, culture and education have found themselves in a dead end street”.

The Culture Ministry meanwhile said in a response that the motion would enable it to present all its achievements in the past ten months that had been marked by the Covid-19 epidemic. It argued that the situation in culture had improved under Simoniti.

The ministry “won a record EUR 46 million in additional funds for 2021, which means that the culture budget again exceeds 2% of GDP”, and the number of self-employed persons in culture and funding for these persons have also increased.

It also pointed to legislative measures that had helped “culture survive during the pandemic”, and added that some media had reported about culture “in a completely biased and populist way”.

“At the same time, we are looking forward to comparing the achievements in this term with the terms of previous ministers, because we may claim that we have managed to secure more money for almost all segments in culture,” the response adds.

The opposition is also preparing a motion to oust Education Minister Simona Kustec, while a motion to oust Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj was filed a week ago.