Asylum Seeker Case Threatens Government Crisis

By , 17 Nov 2017, 20:48 PM News
Prime Minister Miro Cerar Prime Minister Miro Cerar Wikimedia

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The SDS lodges impeachment motion against the Prime Minister, while The Left threatens the Minister of the Interior. 

The Syrian asylum seeker Ahmad Shamieh’s hopes of staying in the country were crushed on Thursday, following reports on the government's failure to find a legal solution which would prevent his deportation to Croatia.

Secretary General of the Government, Liljana Kozlovič, explained that in yesterday's session the government failed to reach a consensus on whether Mr Shamieh's stay was in the national interest, which, according to Article 51 of the Aliens Act, would allow him to be issued with temporary residence. The issue was then removed from the session’s agenda, meaning that the government's discussion on the issue has closed, and the matter has been returned to the Ministry of the Interior.

Ahmad Shamieh’s deportation to Croatia was put on hold following the intervention of Prime Minister Miro Cerar on Tuesday in an attempt to bypass the Ministry of the Interior’s decision by an alternative legal option. The Ministry’s decision to deport Mr Shamieh is based on the Dublin Regulation, which stipulates that all asylum claims should be processed in the first country of entrance into EU, and was to be executed after all other legal remedies had been exhausted.

The opposition party The Left (Levica) issued a statement on its website which characterises the latest government action as an expression of the Prime Minister's loss of authority. Furthermore, The Left pledged to file a no confidence motion against Vesna Györkös Žnidar, the Minister of the Interior, if the Ministry actually executes its decision to deport Mr. Shamieh.

In today’s statement the Interior Minister Györkös Žnidar expressed confidence in her work and stated that her Ministry was “a story of success” for already meeting all the targets set for its mandate. She called public questioning of the work of the courts and ministries on the part of political leadership a sign that the political compass has been lost in Slovenia, and that Ahmad Shamieh has been subjected to political abuse, although not by the authorities under her control.

Meanwhile, an impeachment motion has been lodged against Prime Minister Miro Cerar by another opposition party, the SDS (Slovenska demokratska stranka), which accuses him of interrupting what they believe to be a legally binding decision, whereby the Prime Minister, among other things, is alleged to have violated four constitutional articles (2, 8, 120 and 153). The process of impeachment requires a majority vote in support in the National Assembly before it can be presented to the constitutional court.


Screenshort of the debate on RTV Slovenia, which can be viewed here with Slovene subtitles

In a televised debate on Thursday night Dr Vinko Gorenak, the SDS spokesperson for the matter, disagreed with a former constitutional judge, Matevž Krivic, in his interpretation of the Dublin Regulation, in which the latter stressed the importance of the Regulation’s discretion clause which allows signatories to exercise their sovereign power in cases where they choose to do so – the legal basis for the German Open Door policy for Syrian asylum seekers since 2015. While Krivic claimed that Prime Minister has violated no laws, he noted the opportunity to process Mr Shamieh’s asylum claim in Slovenia has now been missed.

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