The Outlines of New Coalition

After two weeks of preliminary talks, the idea of what the new ruling coalition will look like is still rather vague, but some more concrete decisions may be taken soon.

Most of the parties mentioned as potential coalition partners to Jankovic's Positive Slovenia, have not yet received an invitation for a new round of talks.

The Social Democrats (SD) of the outgoing PM Borut Pahor seem to be mostly in favour of joining a coalition led by Jankovic despite the disapproval by Pahor, who has been in hospital due to an acute ear infection.

A day after the presidency of the party gave the negotiating team the mandate to resume talks with Jankovic, the SocDems met Jankovic again on Friday, but little concrete results were given.

The presidency of the party is expected to meet again early next week, presumably to decide whether to propose to the conference of the party, which has the final say, to join the coalition or not.

After the first round of talks, a new invitation for a meeting with Jankovic is being expected by the Citizens List of Gregor Virant. Virant has given the party's joining the coalition a 50% chance.

After the meeting of the party's council on Tuesday, Virant also repeated their conditions, including a "no" to a rise in VAT or extra borrowing.

The Virant List also want Jankovic's party to renounce the departments of finance, home affairs and justice. But they would consent to an independent expert heading the finance ministry with Virant mentioning the acclaimed economist Mojmir Mrak as one such candidate.

This provoked a speculation about the "offers" and the distribution of ministries among the parties. Jankovic is said to be planning to have 11 ministers, three of which would go to the SD, two to Virant's party, and one each to the People's party (SLS) and the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS).

However, such a distribution is highly hypothetical, given that it is not yet clear which of the parties will be in the coalition, especially as the SLS has explicitly stated that it will not join in.

Some unofficial information has it that the SD is discussing taking on the departments of social affairs and labour, education, justice and agriculture.

There has also been a rumour that Jankovic has offered SLS president Radovan Zerjav the post of interior minister, which Zerjav has strongly denied in a statement for the STA.

The SLS insists that it has not negotiated joining the coalition and has repeatedly stated that it will not enter government with Zerjav labelling the speculation about the party's joining the coalition as "ugly".

Zerjav has acknowledged though that some parties would very much like to see the SLS in the coalition. If they get an invitation from Jankovic to meet again, they will "probably attend", the party head says.

Meanwhile, DeSUS leader Karl Erjavec has told the STA that he has not received an invitation for a new meeting, but the party expressed its readiness in the past to join a Jankovic-led coalition.

As they meet for the inaugural session on Wednesday, the new MPs will confirm their terms and elect a new speaker. The term of the outgoing parliament will end as will the mayoral terms of the 11 MPs that have so far served as mayors.

After the maiden session, President Danilo Tuerk will start talks with parliamentary factions on a PM-designate, whom he needs to put forward within 30 days. Unofficially, the talks will start right after Christmas.

The president says that Slovenia should get the PM-designate by the New Year and the new government by Epiphany, the Catholic holiday celebrated on 6 January.

The first job of the new parliament is likely to be to decide on an austerity bill that would prevent a pay rise for public sector employees after the New Year.

Jankovic has confirmed that he will invite trade unions for talks on the issue, while the outgoing government is said to be drafting its own a version of the bill, which is why it has already been asked to meet a part of the unions.