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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Less Than a Week After the New Government Has Been Elected, It Is Already Involved in an Affair!

By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv

The government of Robert Golob has formally been active for less than a week, and it has already got caught up in a corruption scandal par excellence, as the new Minister of Health, Danijel Bešič Loredan, has been pressuring the Director of the National Institute of Public Health, Milan Krek, to resign – apparently, at the request of Robert Golob. When the former Secretary-General of the List of Marjan Šarec, Brane Kralj, was found to be intervening with Irena Prijović, the first supervisor of the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, due to the appointment of Igor Šoltes, he had to leave his post. The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption found that Kralj’s conduct was highly unethical and that he violated the integrity of the position. However, the new government is taking it a step further, as no one has ever experienced such open and direct threats as the ones being made in order to satisfy the appetites of Golob’s new government. 

“For three days now, Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan has been pressuring me – even though I have proven to be non-political and was appointed to the position of Director of the National Institute of Public Health through a public tender – to resign from my post. The Minister is telling me that the Prime Minister is demanding that I be replaced and that he is only the executor – and a sharp one at that, if I do not withdraw,” the Director of the National Institute of Public Health, Milan Krek, told the media outlet Portal Plus.

According to Krek, the Minister of Health Bešič Loredan has not been able to name an actual reason for his replacement. “He keeps repeating that we will simply not be able to work with each other,” he said. Krek also said that the new Minister of Health told him in one of their telephone conversations that the Prime Minister is asking him to get Krek to resign. “So, the Prime Minister who will depoliticise everything wants me to resign. The Minister is telling me that the Prime Minister is demanding that I be replaced and that he is only the executor – and a sharp one at that, if I do not withdraw,” Krek said, adding that Bešič Loredan continues to skilfully evade any questions from the public, saying that he has nothing to do with it, while continuing to speak in cliches and make empty promises to people.

“When I asked Loredan if he understood that he is a doctor, he replied that he is now a politician. Do you see just how small of a step it is between a rebel doctor and a politician? I hope that Danijel will at least continue to be a doctor on the weekends, when he will continue to work as a doctor, and that he will not forget this in his narcissistic pose when he is holding a scalpel in his hand,” Krek wrote.

There have not been such brutal personnel replacements and violations of the law ever before
The mainstream media paid virtually no attention to Krek’s post, even though this is a corruption affair par excellence. Despite the fact that the new government promised to engage in brutal personnel replacements before the election already, they have clearly realised that there are legal limits, as well as those of common sense and political culture. Such direct, open personnel placements without any fear of consequence were not even a thing during the times of Golobič’s Liberal Democracy of Slovenia party, and it is also worth noting that a similar affair was the reason why the List of Marjan Šarec’s Secretary-General, Brane Kralj, had to leave his post during the term of the government of Marjan Šarec.

Namely, Kralj spoke to the first supervisor of the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, Irena Prijović, to force the appointment of Igor Šoltes as the Director of the Official Gazette. The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption found Kralj’s conduct to be unethical and a breach of integrity. With this, the Commission pointed out, he exerted unacceptable pressure and interfered with the independence of the supervisory board, which is the only one responsible for appointing the director of the Official Gazette.

According to the Commission, Kralj ordered Prijović to appoint Šoltes, and he also wanted to find out more about the timetable of the personnel procedure and when the meeting of the supervisory board will take place and demanded that the procedure be reported on before communication with the Slovenian State Holding. “The aforementioned requirements correspond to the definition of illegal or unethical conduct, as determined by Article 24 of the Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act,” the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption wrote at the time. According to the standards of the Commission, the affair in which Minister Bepič Loredan got involved includes all of the same signs of such a vile act as the actions of Kralj, and the consequences should therefore be the same. If Minister Bešič Loredan has any integrity, he will resign before the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption makes a decision on this case.

This reeks of political corruption
Krek said that his acquaintances from the Social Democrats (SD) party said that the Minister and the government have appointed as many as four members from the party in question to the council of the National Institute of Public Health. Some of them are also members of the health council in the SD party, led by Branko Gabrovec. “It took very little time for me to figure out why the Minister is trying to politicise the council of the National Institute of Public Health. He himself told me that he wants Branko Gabrovec, who is the president of the expert health council in the SD party, to be the Director. As the president, he is also the head of some members of the health council of the SD party. And now imagine that the Minister of Health tells you upfront who he wants the new director to be, even before a public call is issued. What happens if someone else responds to the call as well? Don’t panic; the SD party, meaning, Branko’s friends, have the majority in the Institute’s council! This reeks of political corruption, and the question here is whether anyone will take a closer look at these things,” Krek explained.

“In short, the new Minister of Health has completely politicised the National Institute of Public Health in just a few days, which is, of course, contrary to my views, as I have always believed that the National Institute should not be politicised. I have always been against this, and even now, I am against it because we are not a political body, but a professional one,” Krek said, adding that the only solution is to depoliticise the Institute, which would allow the profession to function independently. “We have proven this in the last two years,” he wrote.

Krek also revealed that he is not the only one who is being forced to resign. “I also received information from other public health institutions that people in charge are being told to resign over the telephone. This is incredible! But since I am old enough now to have some historical memory, I can tell you that this is exactly what the Communist Party used to do as well, following the very same pattern: it had its people everywhere, who reported back to the Central Committee, and the directors could only be “their people,” with the rare few exceptions.”

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