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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Current political situation: There are only two scenarios, whether the current coalition stays or preliminary elections

By: Sara Rančigaj

There is a lot happening on political stage, especially behind the scenes. The opposition bet all its cards on the arrival of DeSUS in the KUL coalition, after the election of Karl Erjavec as their president. Erjavec’s plans were thwarted by his own MPs, who are aware that they are doing well in this government and have thus shown their level of maturity, while they wish to achieve the goals to which they have committed themselves to. The chances of Erjavec becoming the formateur of the coalition government are slim, as there are too many disagreements on the part of the opposition, which were already shown in the previous government. In the current situation, there are only two options present among the MPs: Either preliminary election is called or the government will continue its work. Experts warn that even if Erjavec managed to remove the MPs from the coalition, in the voting for the formateur of the coalition the Jankovič scenario could happen to him. This is referring to the time when Jankovič did not get enough votes in a ballot.

Support for DeSUS has almost doubled since the last measurement in early November. While only 4.9 percent of voters were in favour of the party in November, this support rose to 8.8 percent in December. It is interesting to point out that the poll was conducted at a time when DeSUS President Karl Erjavec wanted to leave the coalition and call himself the prime minister, but his own MPs prevented him from doing so, for which he later apologised. The correlation between the constructive attitude of the DeSUS parliamentary group and the increase in public support is therefore not accidental, it was rewarded by the voters. It should also not be overlooked that the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia achieved its second best result in the elections in 2008, after the entire mandate of the center-right and when pensions increased by more than 20 percent.

Opposition parties LMŠ, SD, Levica, and SAB, which want to form a so-called coalition of the constitutional arc, met on Friday with both Jože P. Damijan and President of DeSUS Karl Erjavec, who are both possible candidates for formateur of a possible new government. They are also ready to talk to a third party, commented SD President Tanja Fajon at Saturday’s conference, according to STA. KUL has so far secured 46 parliamentary votes, which is still 7 too few to form a coalition. There are speculations that they would like to gain these MP votes on the side of SMC and DeSUS, but so far it does not seem that any of the MPs would want to cross sides.

In the last few weeks, opposition representatives and Damijan have repeatedly emphasised in media that the DeSUS congress is crucial for the possible formation of the government, meanwhile in public, hints have surfaced that even Erjavec himself could be a possible candidate for prime minister.

As some statements by KUL representatives show, they most likely calculated that this would undoubtedly attract DeSUS MPs to the new government. However, four out of five DeSUS MPs stopped the situation after Erjavec proposed leaving Janša government to party leadership and the parliamentary group only two days after the congress. Although the party’s bodies decide on this, they agreed before the congress that they would not leave the coalition all of a sudden.

Erjavec was particularly resented for his approach after the congress. “He also apologised for that,” said the party’s leader Franc Jurša after Thursday’s meeting with the party’s leadership and parliamentary group. He also announced that for now DeSUS remains in Janša’s coalition, but they have agreed on a possible connection with the SMC parliamentary group. DeSUS MPs have repeatedly mentioned that they are bothered in the coalition by the opening of ideological issues or topics that upset the public. On the other hand, the MPs are very satisfied with the implementation of the commitments they signed in the coalition agreement, as this would help to improve the situation of pensioners. In the coming days, for example, MPs will begin debating on a proposal for law on the National Demographic Fund, which is one of the government’s top priorities and DeSUS’ requirements.

Janković scenario could happen to Erjavec

Some time ago, SMC President Zdravko Počivalšek stressed that there are only two options for him – cooperation with the current coalition or preliminary elections. Thus, Erjavec supposedly arranged a meeting with Počivalšek. There is a lot of speculations about possible transfers of SMC MPs. According to STA, on Friday the leader of the parliamentary group Janja Sluga said in a statement at the National Assembly that the scenario according to which some of their MPs would support a possible constructive vote of no confidence and support Erjavec as formateur had not yet been discussed. Thus everything is only speculation. According to Sluga, the parliamentary group is united, which is a better scenario for it in this case. In the event that some MPs transfer from their parliamentary group to KUL, Sluga will also lose her position as the leader of the parliamentary group.

Experts are also of the opinion that only these scenarios presented by Počivlšek are possible at the moment. In the event that MPs decide and vote a constructive vote of no confidence in the government, a scenario like the one we witnessed with Zoran Janković in 2012, when he received only 42 votes and was not voted for prime minister, can happen in all probability. This could similarly happen to either Erjavec or Damijan. In this case, it would be in the interest of the majority of MPs to take part in the preliminary elections and, for this reason, they would not want to raise their ballots when voting for a prime minister – something similar had been done by the SAB parliamentary group in the past.

What are the possibilities for Karl Erjavec as prime minister?

According to experts’ opinions, Erjavec has no chances of becoming prime minister through KUL. First, Erjavec lost the support of most of his MPs. DeSUS MPs are aware that when you get married, you cannot divorce that easily. On the other hand, Erjavec and Marjan Šarec cannot understand each other, which would further destabilise the government. In the formation of the new coalition, problems could also be encountered between the SMC and the LMŠ. While Šarec stated some time ago that he does not want to be minister, in all probability, his wish would be to take over the position of President of the National Assembly. This would be contrary to the wishes of the SMC party, which would like to keep Igor Zorčič as President of the National Assembly.

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