SDS files for referendum on changes to the government act

Ljubljana – The Democrats (SDS) have tabled a motion to call a consultative referendum on the proposed changes to the government act, the National Assembly said. The SDS opposes rising the number of ministries and would like to give the government more “time to think about” government formation. This could delay the process by a month.

Under the proposed changes, the new government would have 19 ministries and one minister without portfolio, which would according to the emerging coalition of the Freedom Movement, Social Democrats (SD) and the Left boost efficiency and responsiveness.

The incumbent government of Janez Janša has 14 ministries.

However, the SDS argued the government should not have too many members so it could be operative; coordinating between a larger number of ministries would be more demanding and an extensive public administration would be hard to manage and control.

In a press release the party also stated its case against a ministry for a solidarity-based future as inappropriate as well as opposed the idea to include sports in the economy portfolio and innovation in the portfolio of higher education.

The other opposition party, New Slovenia (NSi), did not sign on to the referendum bid even though they oppose the amendments to the government act, arguing it is up to each ruling coalition to organise their government.

However, considering the challenges awaiting Slovenia the NSi do not think this is the right time for “state administration to be preoccupied with itself for a year and a half rather than be solving problems”.

The head of the SD deputy group, Jani Prednik, said this was “blatant misbehaviour” and a negation of the will of the people, who “said no to such politics in the April general election”.

Speaking on the sidelines of today’s parliament session, Prednik noted that every emerging coalition had the opportunity to form a government, pick the number of ministers and set its course, which was what the first 100 days were for.

“The current opposition is misbehaving and is already showing the modus operandi it had been displaying for four years, which we find unacceptable, and probably they are showing they are not happy with the election result, but sooner or later they will have to accept it.”

The three coalition partners would like to form the government by 3 June, but now that the referendum motion has been filed, 30 days must pass before the National Assembly can vote on the motion and only then can changes to the government act be put to a vote.

According to Prednik, this could mean that the formation of the government will be delayed or that it will be formed under the existing government act and then rearranged later in line with the proposed changes.

Prednik thinks it is not very likely that President Borut Pahor would be asked to put forward the prime minister candidate later than planned, so the National Assembly is expected to vote on the prime minister next Wednesday as planned.

The coalition partners are yet to decide on future steps, he said.

This move is similar to the 33 legislative motions that were filed at the parliament’s maiden session, said Mojca Šetinc Pašek, MP for the Freedom Movement.

She believes these procedural blockades are something constitutional experts should deal with.

Freedom Movement head Robert Golob is scheduled to comment on the matter later this afternoon.

The head of the Left deputy group, Matej Tašner Vatovec, said earlier today the stalling was the plan of the outgoing government to “buy time to continue its corrupt conduct”. He also pointed to “staffing that is under way”.