Slovene Parliament Confirms Minority Government

On Thursday the Slovenian Parliament confirmed the appointment of the country’s new centre-left minority government led by Prime Minister Marjan Sarec. The minority government secured 45 votes in a 90-seat parliament, while 11 MPs abstained. 34 voted against the minority government, favoring snap elections. Sarec, a newcomer on the national political landscape who ran on a centrist platform, is a former actor and comedian, and previously served as mayor of the small town of Kamnik north of Ljubljana.

Aged 40, he will be the youngest Prime Minister, comedian, and actor leads a party that is highly personalized (Sarec List). He has forged a volatile alliance of five parties: the Sarec List, the Social Democrats, the Modern Center, the Alenka Bratusek party, and the pensioner’s party ‘Desus’. Slovenia went to the polls in June, returning a politically fragmented parliament with 11 political parties sharing 90 seats. The coalition formally controls 43 seats in parliament.

The coalition will also be supported by 9 MPs of the leftist Ljevica party under a special coöperation protocol. Ljevica abstained from Thursday’s vote on ministers. The formal transfer of authority between Sarec and outgoing Prime Minister Miro Cerar is planned for Friday. Cerar will take up the office of foreign minister in the new cabinet, replacing Karl Erjavec, who will become the new defense minister.

Sarec is promising a stable economic environment conducive to investment, cutting red tape and improvement in healthcare services. The government faces tough negotiations with public sector unions who staged a series of strikes in spring, demanding significant salary increases.

If the minority government fails to stay on top of the policy agenda, the country may go to the polls for snap elections. The prospect is welcome by-election winner Janez Janša, whose Democrats (SDS) was openly supported by Hungary’s Victor Orban. SDS campaigned on an anti-immigration and Eurosceptic platform.

The former prime minister Miro Cerar returns as foreign minister, while the Economist Andrej Bertoncelj takes the finance portfolio.

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