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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

It cannot be true, but it is! Instead of lower fuel prices and bills, we will pay additional ministries!

By Sara Bertoncelj (Nova24tv.si)

At today’s extraordinary session, the National Assembly adopted amendments to the Government Act with 53 votes in favour and 25 votes against. It is introducing three new ministries, for a solidarity future, higher education, science and innovation, and climate and energy. They are expected to be fully operational in September. Some ministries are promised renaming and changes in competencies, reports STA. Political analyst Mitja Iršič warned a few days ago that the government has a bunch of tools with which to lower the price of fuel to the level of the beginning of the year – but the measures would mean an intervention in the budget, which is of course not to the liking of Robert Golob, who, of course, needs quite a bit of extra money for additional ministries and the appetites of coalition partners.

It should be reminded that the MPs debated the coalition proposal for amendments to the government law at an extraordinary session on May 18th, but then did not vote on the law itself because the SDS party submitted a proposal for a consultative referendum. As expected, the National Assembly rejected the referendum proposal at its session on Monday, so the MPs were able to vote on the bill today. After the amendments to the law come into force, hearings of individual ministerial candidates will follow, but it is not yet entirely clear which candidates will have to be heard. Alenka Bratušek will almost certainly be among them, replacing the position of State Secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure with a ministerial chair. The current Minister Bojan Kumer will move from infrastructure to the new Ministry of Climate and Energy.

The Ministry of Solidarity Future will be headed by the current Minister of Labour Luka Mesec, and at the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities will be succeeded by his current State Secretary Simon Maljevac. The Ministry of Education, Science and Sports is now to be divided into two departments. The Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation will be headed by the current Minister of Education Igor Papič, while the Ministry of Education will be headed by the current State Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Darjo Felda. In addition, under the auspices of the Ministry of the Economy, headed by Matjaž Han, sport is being transferred, and the ministry will be renamed the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport. The current Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, headed by Uroš Brežan, is also expected to be renamed the Ministry of Nature and Spatial Planning. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, headed by Tanja Fajon, will be renamed the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. Prime Minister Robert Golob expects that individual ministries will be restructured over the summer and that they will be fully operational by September.

For the time being, the opposition SDS is silent on whether they will use the opportunity for a referendum. Decisions in the party have not yet been made, but they have seven days to collect signatures, which is more than enough, SDS MP Žan Mahnič said after today’s session. “A party as big as us can collect these signatures in one day if needed,” he believes. The opposition NSi also opposes the proposed changes to the government law, but as the leader of the MPs Janez Cigler Kralj said in today’s statement, they also do not support obstructing the formation of a new government. They want the government to start working as soon as possible and show how they will keep their promises.

Money is spent completely wrong

There will certainly be more services for political friends, but what will happen to ordinary citizens is another question. Electricity bills jumped in June, and a similar thing happened a few days ago with fuel prices, which were even in short supply at gas stations on Sunday. “The government could also reduce VAT and excise duties. But all the above-mentioned measures would mean an intervention in the budget, which is already far too weak to fulfil the megalomaniacal socialist promises of Golob’s coalition, despite the good condition of the government of Janez Janša,” Mitja Iršič commented on the events on Monday. Dejan Kaloh from the SDS pointed out at yesterday’s parliamentary session that the coalition is establishing a futuristic ministry for a solidary future, which is a total paradox because they took Slovenia back to the 1970s – people are standing in line in front of petrol stations not knowing if they will get fuel. “An MP from Svoboda cites Sri Lanka, which is bankrupt, as an example of good practice in governing 51 ministries. All schools have been closed because of fuel shortages, public life is no more, the country is collapsing. Does Svoboda want Slovenia to completely fall to its knees as well,” he added, and Branko Grims remarked that people will now be able to dance from pump to pump at the expense of the government’s actions.

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