Slovenian Ruling Coalition Fails to Secure Parliamentary Majority

Slovenian Ruling Coalition Fails to Secure Parliamentary Majority

The Slovenian opposition called for snap elections after the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Janez Jansa failed to get enough votes to approve the agenda at an important parliamentary session.

After Slovenian MPs failed to approve the agenda for a week-long parliamentary session on Monday, the opposition renewed its call for early elections.

“Calls for parliamentary elections will be more frequent and louder,” political scientist Alem Maksuti told BIRN.

Maksuti said that the problem is that “the main actor who should decide on it and say ‘stop the agony’” – Prime Minister Janez Jansa – will not agree to snap polls.

Speaker Igor Zorcic suspended the session of the 90-seat parliament before it even began, as 42 MPs voted in favour and 42 against the agenda which included a vote on an opposition-sponsored motion to impeach Jansa and on a proposal by the ruling coalition to dismiss Zorcic as speaker.

Jansa described the situation as “totally absurd”.

“Speaker Igor Zorcic voted against the agenda of the plenary session he is chairing, and thus prevented a debate on a number of solutions important for the people, as well as the impeachment filed by the opposition,” he wrote on Twitter.

The centre-left opposition parties – Marjan Sarec List, LMS, Social Democrats SD, Left and Alenka Bratusek Party, SAB – then filed a request for an emergency session to discuss Jansa’s impeachment over alleged constitutional and legal violations.

“What the opposition is trying to do with this proposal is to put pressure on MPs, the public and the media, [to explain] that the best solution for democracy and for Slovenia is snap elections,” Maksuti said.

According to Maksuti, there is little chance of Jansa being impeached, but that the ruling coalition could also fail to get Zorcic’s removal on the agenda.

A similar situation occurred in March when governing parties failed by one vote to remove Zorcic as speaker after he quit one of the governing coalition parties and went into opposition.

The ruling coalition is comprised of Prime Minister Jansa’s right-wing Slovenian Democratic Party, SDS, New Slovenia, NSi, and Zorcic’s former party, the Modern Centre Party, SMC. Together they have 38 MPs, while another three from the far-right Slovenian National Party, SNS, also support the government.

There are also two representatives of national minorities in parliament. Maksuti said that it is “usually an unwritten rule” that they vote for the government.

In December last year, the Pensioners’ Party, DeSUS, left Jansa’s coalition, but there is still a division between its MPs when it comes to supporting Jansa. This means that the majority needed to pass laws depends on the will and interests of a few MPs.

Maksuti said that Jansa use the powers he has during the pandemic to continue to make decisions by decree.

Jansa came to power for a third stint as prime minister in March last year, after the previous government led by Marjan Sarec collapsed.

Many observers have warned that since Jansa came to power, his government has placed new restrictions on NGOs, independent cultural organisations and the media.

If his administration survives, it will be in office until mid-2022. Its policies could attract greater international attention in the second half of this year, when Slovenia will hold the presidency of Council of the European Union.

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