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nedelja, 16 januarja, 2022

Mag. Dejan Kaloh: “The difference is obvious: democrats are building Slovenia all the time, while leftists are destroying it”

By: Peter Truden

We talked about the current socio-political events in Slovenia with Dejan Kaloh, a member of the Slovenian Democratic Party, who is known as an active and propulsive Maribor MP. He is also the president of the SDS City Board Maribor.

DEMOKRACIJA: Mr. Kaloh, can you give us a look at the current political situation at the end of 2021?

Kaloh: The left-wing political stampede, backed by MSM instigators, will certainly escalate. Another old clip or photo will be found, and pointless interpellations will be filed. The antics of the Wednesday’s and Friday’s hooligans, jenulls and stevanovićs will also continue. Of course, this will not endanger the successful government coalition, as the third government of Janez Janša is also proving itself with exceptional results, but not with empty wording, which was a trademark of Šarec’s government. Under the current government, Slovenia, although still in the grip of covid-19, has encouraging economic growth, record low unemployment and adopted budgets for 2022 and 2023, which are highly investment-oriented. The difference is obvious: democrats are building Slovenia all the time, while leftists are destroying it.

Thus, we have the answer to this left-wing madness in the good working of the government, in a good working of the coalition in the National Assembly, but also in the media, which report objectively and truthfully. Here we are fighting a tough battle against MSM, but the results are already visible. The key result is that the truth cannot be faked for more than an hour or two and there is already information here that puts things in their proper place.

DEMOKRACIJA: So, there will be no preliminary elections, which is a great wish of the opposition?

Kaloh: Here we come to the biggest paradox of this term. Preliminary elections are called by those who threw in the towel at the beginning of 2020, at the beginning of the worst health crisis in Slovenia’s history and left Slovenia with empty warehouses in which there should be protective equipment. We will have to wait for this successful government to end its term, and then we will go to the polls in April. The opposition’s wet dreams of preliminary elections will therefore not become a reality. We will successfully bring this mandate to an end, and after the April elections, as a victorious coalition, we will continue to build Slovenia at an accelerated pace in the 2022-2026 mandate.

Dejan Kaloh, M. Phil. SDS MP and president of the SDS City Board Maribor (Photo: Veronika Savnik)

DEMOKRACIJA: The effective and targeted work of the government is also reflected in the fact that it has taken a bite out of areas that have so far been considered too hard nuts, but when we finally crack them, it will be especially the citizens who will get something out of it. For example, the desired increase in net wages or the regulation of long-term care.

Kaloh: We can be justifiably proud of the current government. This is an extremely operative government, which is up to the challenge every time, and at the same time dares to bite into the sour apple. As far as the proposed amendment to the Personal Income Tax Act is concerned, it brings, among other things, an increase in the general relief and, consequently, higher net wages for all those in employment. According to the proposal, the general relief, which can be claimed by all taxpayers, will gradually increase from today’s 3,500 to 7,500 euros by 2025. This means 160 euros more for a worker with a minimum wage in 2022, 260 euros more for a worker with an average wage and 330 euros more for a worker with three times the average wage. By 2025, these figures will rise to 640 to 1,320 euros. Thus, the net income of the people will increase, which is not only fair, but will also have a beneficial effect on the overall economic picture in the country.

At the end of November, we adopted all coalition amendments to the bill on long-term care at a session of the National Assembly, and in December we will finally adopt the law at an extraordinary session in third reading. People who are permanently dependent on the help of another person and need help with basic daily tasks simply deserve this law.

This government and this coalition in the National Assembly will be the ones that made sure that long-term care, after almost 20 years since we became acquainted with the first draft law in this area, will be systematically regulated. The biggest stumbling block has been funding in the past. We also cut this Gordian knot. In the first half of 2024, the government will prepare a special legislative solution on the new contribution, and until its adoption, the difference will be covered by the state budget.

DEMOKRACIJA: The current government has not ignored the municipalities either.

Kaloh: The government raised the average amount (the amount determined as an approximate value for a payment of something) already in 2020. With the second PKP, our government increased the average amount for municipalities. Let me give an example. For the Municipality of Maribor, this meant 3,319,286 euros more than agreed in 2019. In 2020, the Municipality of Maribor received 59,432,495 euros in average amount. The average amount, i.e., the amount per capita of a municipality, is still increasing from the current 628 euros: next year by 17 euros, to 645 euros, and in 2023 to 647 euros.

DEMOKRACIJA: You are the only Maribor MP from the SDS. It is already folklore that the Styrian dialect and efforts for projects for the Styrian metropolis can be heard in the parliament, but the fact is that Maribor will also receive substantial state and European funds in the coming years.

Kaloh: Right-wing governments never forget Maribor. As an MP, I accompanied Prime Minister Janez Janša on his visit to the Maribor municipality, where we had a working meeting with Mayor Arsenovič, as well as on a government visit to the region at the end of June, when we had a working lunch with Mayor Arsenovič. By the way, when the Prime Minister was Marjan Šarec, his foot did not cross the doorstep of Municipality of Maribor.

Let me list only the most key projects for Maribor. The construction of a new infection clinic at the University Medical Centre Maribor, an investment of 50 million euros will be provided from cohesion funds, the relocation of the Department of Lung Diseases at the University Medical Centre Maribor was the first approved investment from the React EU initiative in the amount of 3.6 million euros. A nursing hospital will be set up at the Pohorje location. Moreover, 6.8 million euros of grant from the React EU initiative has also been provided.

At the end of September, the National Assembly passed a law on providing funds for investments in Slovenian healthcare from 2021 to 2031. The law, submitted by the government, allocates around two billion euros for investments, including investments in both university clinical centres. 763 million euros is earmarked for university clinical centres. UKC Maribor will get its fair proportional share in terms of size, which is around 250 million euros.

The government of Janez Janša also greatly appreciates science and research. The University of Maribor is thus provided with 29 million euros for the upgrade of the research infrastructure.

European and state funds are available to Maribor for projects: the Synagogue, Maribor Castle, the Čeligi Tower, and the construction of a road in the Pobrežje business zone in the amount of one million euros.

Moreover, 3,169,000 euros will be available from the state budget for 2021 for the renovation of the Maribor sports hall Tabor, where the European Youth Olympic Festival will take place in 2023.

The Ministry of Culture has provided co-financing in the amount of 12.5 million euros for the construction of the Rotovž Center, which will solve the long-standing space shortage of the Maribor library and will also house an art gallery and art cinema.

In Maribor, the renovation of the dilapidated promenade in the City Park has also begun, the investment is worth 3.6 million euros. The share of co-financing is provided from the European Union Fund and state resources and amounts to as much as 80 percent of the total investment.

The seat of the Government Office for Demography is also in Maribor. Thank you, dear Prime Minister Janez Janša, and thank you to all the ministers of this government who have not forgotten about our Maribor!

Dejan Kaloh, M. Phil. SDS MP and president of the SDS City Board Maribor (Photo: Veronika Savnik)

DEMOKRACIJA: How do you, as a lawyer among the MPs, view the state of the rule of law in our country?

Kaloh: Slovenia or its citizens are still in the grip of inequality before the law. Illegal judgments of Slovenian courts have so far cost taxpayers almost 300 million euros. The latest case of the Farsi court in the “stolen villa” case: Janez Janša was not informed about the verdict, as he was neither informed of it nor received notification that it had been issued. He was also not invited to the hearing or was informed that proceedings were pending at all. Bavcon’s spirit will apparently wander the courtrooms for some time to come, writing “judgments in the name of the people.”

DEMOKRACIJA: You are finishing your work on the inquiry commission in the case of Franc Kangler and others. A summary of the work of this very high-profile investigation?

Kaloh: We were very active. During my presidency of the commission alone, I convened nine emergency and ten regular sessions and interrogated fifteen witnesses, including two former interior ministers, Vinko Gorenak and Boštjan Poklukar, and one current minister, Zdravko Počivalšek. Among other things, the President of the National Council, Alojz Kovšca, was also questioned.

The essential findings regarding Kangler’s court cases and related abuses from the pre-trial proceedings onwards will of course be presented in the final report, which will be adopted at the meeting of the commission of inquiry later this year. At this point, I can say that certain documents show that in some court cases, both police officers and prosecutors and judges acted in a coordinated manner, and this was unlawful to the detriment of Kangler.

In the commission, we also dealt with illegal insights into the personal files of MPs and ministers. These findings are also alarming. Just as a metaphor for the top of the iceberg: the commission also questioned police officer Zdenek Kabaj, who was found to have illegally inspected Karl Erjavec’s personal records just a week before the then defence minister’s interpellation. At the same time, we rightly wondered whether the government even controlled its own ministers during the period of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, the then Minister of the Interior Poklukar and the then State Secretary in the KPV Damir Črnčec. The fact is, however, that the files of some of the then opposition MPs were illegally inspected, and we will prevent this with proposals to change the legislation in the future. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, we are a state governed by the rule of law, and the Democrats will certainly ensure that.

DEMOKRACIJA: The rule of law is also under attack due to the leakage of classified information from the Specialised State Prosecutor’s Office (SDT) all the way to the members of the infamous so-called Kavaš mafia.

Kaloh: This is, in my opinion, the biggest scandal of the state prosecutor’s office in the last decade. It can be compared to the time when prosecutors did not recognise international crime in the infamous Iranian money laundering affair in the NLB. In the case of the release of classified information that made a pilgrimage to the brutal mobsters, everything failed, from security protocols to the control of persons who have access to the most sensitive information. Data has not been leaking from the SDT for two months, but for almost two years! At least two members of this criminal group have escaped arrest for this outrageous aid from the SDT. This extremely serious issue will be discussed at a joint session in December by two parliamentary committees, the Justice Committee, and the Home Affairs Committee.

Dejan Kaloh, M. Phil. SDS MP and president of the SDS City Board Maribor (Photo: Veronika Savnik)

Biogrpahy

Dejan Kaloh was born in 1975 in Maribor. In 2007 he graduated from the Faculty of Law in Maribor, where he obtained the title of university graduate lawyer. He completed his master’s degree in 2014 at the Faculty of Postgraduate State and European Studies in Kranj. During the second government of Prime Minister Janez Janša, he was an adviser in the cabinet of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Slovenia. In 2015, he joined the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia and worked as an expert in the SDS parliamentary group. In 2018, he was elected a member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia on the SDS list. He is the chairman of the inquiry commission in the Franc Kangler case and others, and a member of the Justice Committee and Knovs. He was very journalistically active in the past. He has written several high-profile books: From the Party to Patria, Milan Kučan: When the Godfather Speaks About Himself, From Nagode to Janša – A Chronicle of the Modern Edited Patria Trial. He is also the president of the SDS City Board Maribor. He is married, with his wife Natalia, a university professor, and they have a 9-year-old daughter.

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