21 Dec 2020, 16:20 PM

STA, 21 December 2020 - Voluntary trial mass testing will start on Tuesday in a number of municipalities, Marija Magajne of the Health Ministry told the government briefing on Monday. Exact locations and hours are yet to be announced. Results of rapid tests that will be used during the testing are from today deemed equivalent to those produced by PCR tests.

The Health Ministry said in a release that rapid testing can start in Ljubljana, Celje, Maribor, Novo Mesto, Nova Gorica, Murska Sobota, Slovenj Gradec, Koper, Kranj, Velenje, Ptuj, Lenart and Sevnica.

A greater number of testing sites will be provided in areas with the worst epidemiological situation, while there is also a possibility of conducting antigen tests in smaller municipalities as part of the trial, Marija Magajne of the Health Ministry told the government briefing on Monday.

The screening will be free-of-charge. Those who wish to get tested are required to bring their IDs and health insurance cards. They are also urged to maintain physical distance and wear a face mask.

So far, it is not necessary to book a test but that might change if many people are interested to get tested.

It is already clear that in Ljubljana, the testing will take place in Congress Square.

Residents of small municipalities with no testing sites will be allowed to travel between municipalities if they want to get tested.

Antigen tests deliver results in approximately 15 minutes. The results will be entered into the national patient register since a new definition of a positive test enters into force as of today - a rapid test result is now as good as a result delivered by a molecular or PCR test.

Those who will test positive using antigen tests will be thus automatically added to the daily tally of positive cases.

So far, such persons in care homes and health institutions, where systemic testing has been performed, have had to confirm their infection using a molecular test.

The display of daily recorded infections is to be amended as well - on top of the number of PCR tests and cases, there will be a special category showing the total of rapid tests and those that will have returned positive.

If both tests produce a positive result, only one will be taken into account and displayed, Magajne added.

Mass testing will be held until 24 December. After the holidays, rapid tests will be used among specific groups of residents, including those in education and child care.

Magajne noted that there was enough antigen tests. They are arriving in Slovenia gradually and are stored by suppliers.

The team that will be in charge of the testing in Ljubljana has already received the first batch of 1,000 tests.

Between 30 and 40 persons will be tested per hour. The rest of the tests are expected to be delivered later. An additional 100,000 tests are expected to arrive in Slovenia until the end of the week or the beginning of next year.

Magajne also said that 52 testing providers had responded to the ministry's open call. They could provide 130 mobile teams, which should be enough, according to her.

Prime Minister Janez Janša said this was not promotional testing but the start of the implementation of a plan adopted a while ago.

As part of the plan, anyone who thinks they are infected has the opportunity to get tested with rapid tests and check the result with a PCR test, he said on the sidelines of a meeting of senior officials.

The start of the mass testing was scheduled for today in Ljubljana, but was delayed by a day.

21 Dec 2020, 16:16 PM

STA, 21 December 2020 - Milko Novič has been acquitted a second time of the charge that he murdered Janko Jamnik, director of the National Institute of Chemistry, in December 2014, after initially being found guilty in 2017 of murdering his former boss.

The judging panel of the Ljubljana District Court delivered the not-guilty judgement on Monday, just days before the case would have fallen under the statute of limitations on Sunday.

Considering the CCTV footage and the time frame covered by his alibi, judge Sinja Božičnik said the defendant could not have been at the crime scene. Nor was power of the evidence matching fragments of gun powder found on Novič with those at the crime scene, conclusive enough for a conviction.

The judgement is not final as the prosecution, which had sought 25 years in prison for Novič, announced an appeal, as did the counsel for Jamnik's widow, but the case will become statute barred before the appeal may be heard.

Jamnik was shot in the head twice in a parking lot in Ljubljana as the institute held its Christmas party on 16 December 2014. He died three days later and Novič was soon arrested as the main suspect.

Novič was first convicted of murdering his ex-boss out of revenge and sentenced to 25 years in prison in April 2017.

However, after being upheld by the Ljubljana Higher Court, the ruling was quashed in October 2018 by the Supreme Court on the basis of a point of law appeal and a retrial was ordered.

Novič was then acquitted in April 2019, primarily on the basis of a reconstruction which suggested he did not have enough time to reach the crime scene from his home in the window between his alibi and the time of the murder.

The prosecution appealed against the ruling with the Ljubljana Higher Court, which annulled the not-guilty verdict last March sending the case into retrial at the first-instance court in front of a new panel of judges.

In the closing statements today, prosecutor Blanka Žgajnar insisted that Novič had murdered Jamnik out of ruthless revenge for being sacked by Jamnik in 2009 having lost all chances of having the row with his superior resolved in his favour.

Defence counsel Žiga Podobnik disproved the claim by arguing that his losing his job at the institute could not have come as a surprise to Novič that would reflect in his anger at Jamnik; he said Novič had been hired for a fixed term and had known his contract would not be extended.

Podobnik invoked witness statements describing Novič as not being violent and Jamnik as not being afraid of the defendant.

The closing statements followed after the trial heard an opinion compiled by court-appointed expert witnesses from Austria founding it was possible the fragments of gunpowder found on Novič could suggest he was the murderer while it was also possible they came from a shooting range as claimed by the defendant.

The possibility of Novič being contaminated with the fragments was allowed by German experts in the first trial, while the National Forensic Laboratory's opinion put that theory in doubt. The latter held that the fragments found on Novič matched those from the crime scene, while German experts could not confirm that conclusively.

The judge today noted that two of the three opinions commissioned by the court could not conclusively confirm the matching of gunpowder traces and at least two showed it was possible the traces were from the shooting range.

She said the CCTV footage of the two most obvious routes Novič could have chosen had he been a murderer showed it would not have been possible for him to arrive at the crime scene on a bike as alleged by the prosecution.

The judge also referred to data from mobile phone masts that picked up his phone as not leading to a logical conclusion that Novič could have been at the crime scene.

"Whoever was it and committed that horrific act will not face the court, but rather some other unofficial instance," the judge concluded her declaring the judgement.

"I take the judgement as an acquittal regardless of what the prosecution does or that the case will be statute barred. My conscience is clear and peaceful," Novič commented. He felt "sorry for Jamnik's parents, whose strong desire was to find out why their son had to die".

You can read the background to this story here

21 Dec 2020, 16:09 PM

The Prva Liga Telekom Slovenije reached the halfway mark last week, with heavyweights Maribor enjoying a slender lead at the summit of the table.

The 15-time Slovenian top-flight championships needed to come back from behind twice in their final encounter of 2020 on Sunday evening, rescuing a 2-2 draw with second-from bottom Aluminij to preserve their four-match unbeaten run.

Hosts Maribor were pegged back 22 minutes into the game as Alen Kranjc was played through on goal, forcing a smart save from goalkeeper Azbe Jug who could only parry the ball into the path of David Flakus Bosilj who passed the ball into an open net to give the visitors a surprise lead.

Aluminij’s 1-0 advantage lasted barely a minute as Jan Repas’ stunning strike from outside the box found the top corner to draw his side level.

‘The Purples’ found themselves a goal behind once more on the half-hour mark when, after conceding a free-kick just outside the penalty area, Roko Prša’s left-footed thunderbolt crashed in off the crossbar to put Aluminij ahead once more.

The first-half goals continue to rain in at Stadion Ljudski Vrt when seven minutes before the break, Denis Klinar’s pinpoint cross from the right flank was powerfully headed home by Rudi Požeg as he netted his fifth goal of the campaign.

In the second stanza, neither side’s defence was breached again as the spoils were shared in a 2-2 draw, with Maribor’s lead after 19 games cut to three points at the summit of the standings, while Aluminij remain in the relegation play-off position in ninth place.

Maribor have now won eight and drawn one of their ten previous games, the only blip on their record coming at the start of December when they were beaten 2-0 by capital club Olimpija.

Olimpija have been unbeaten since that clash, their 2-0 win over Gorica on Saturday leaving them breathing down Maribor’s necks in the title race, with third-placed Mura just two points further back following their 3-1 win over last season’s surprise league champions Celje.

Celje have struggled this term, and after three losses in four games towards the end of November, seemingly bounced back with consecutive wins over Gorica and Koper, yet the loss against Mura leaves them in a precarious 7th spot on the table.

Koper emerged victorious in an entertaining seven-goal thriller on Saturday, putting four past Tabor in a 4-3 victory which leaves them in fourth place on the log with just over half the season completed.

League table.jpg

Table: Twitter @PrvaLigaSi

After 19 games played in the current 2020/21 season, Koper forward Nardin Mulahusejnović leads the goalscoring charts with nine goals so far, closely followed by Domžale’s Dario Kolobaric and Olimpija duo Dorde Ivanović and Andres Vombergar with eight goals apiece.

The Slovenian league will now recess for the Christmas break, with the league’s return date set for January 20.

21 Dec 2020, 14:08 PM

STA, 19 December 2020 - Religious ceremonies were once again allowed in Slovenia starting from Saturday [19 December] after weeks of strict lockdown. Although the move comes just in time for Christmas, no midnight masses will be held this year, the Catholic Church has decided.

Slovenia confirmed 395 new cases of coronavirus in just under 1,500 tests on Sunday, for a positivity rate of about 27%, and 26 deaths, show the latest government data.

Despite the fact that religious ceremonies are allowed once again under strict precautionary measures, masses will not be held in all of Slovenia. The six dioceses will be deciding individually about masses in their churches.

By Friday evening only the Koper and Ljubljana dioceses allowed masses with believers present physically. In Ljubljana, this will only be allowed during weekdays, but not for the main holiday ceremonies.

The Novo Mesto diocese decided to allow masses with believers present as of Wednesday, while the dioceses of Celje, Murska Sobota and Maribor have decided against services with believers present for the time being.

Under the new rules, the number of people in church has been capped to one person per 30 square metres, unless the persons are members of the same household.

A safety distance of 1.5 metres has to be observed at all times between persons who are not members of the same household. No singing is allowed.

Masks are obligatory in churches, as is hand sanitation. Priests are allowed to give out Communion wafers upon disinfecting their hands. Wafers are to be placed in believers' hands and not in the mouth.

Moreover, the rules issued by the Bishops' Conference also prohibit any form of gathering on church grounds and also prohibit holding masses in the open.

Midnight masses will not be held this Christmas and Christmas Eve masses must conclude by 8 pm at the latest.

Not only religious ceremonies are allowed from today. The government also decided this week that shops selling technical goods, garden centres, and in the four regions with the lowest Covid-19 infection rates also museums and galleries, bookshops and gift shops, among others.

All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia

21 Dec 2020, 13:27 PM

STA, 21 December 2020 - The coalition has tabled a bill that would redraw some electoral districts in line with a 2018 Constitutional Court decision, after a rival opposition bill that would have abolished districts altogether failed to garner the required two-thirds majority in the National Assembly last week.

The wording of the bill has not been made public yet, but it is likely to include a proposal drawn up by the Public Administration Ministry.

In landmark ruling in 2018, the Constitutional Court gave the National Assembly two years to ensure compliance of electoral law with the Constitution after determining that some district sizes were so disproportionate the equality of all voters was no longer guaranteed.

Two ways of tackling this issue quickly emerged: one where districts would be abolished altogether in favour of electoral unit voting with preference votes, and a second where the boundaries of some districts would be redrawn.

The first option was always seen as more difficult given that it required a two-thirds majority. The second option requires a simple majority.

The ruling Democrats (SDS) have been in favour of the redrawing of districts and together with the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) they successfully blocked last week's attempt at the abolition of districts.

After two failed attempts, it is expected that the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) and New Slovenia (NSi), which have been in favour of the abolition of districts, could now back this bill as well.

Under the Constitutional Court's decision, the new system ought to have been in place by today. In recent months President Borut Pahor, who initially spearheaded the effort to build a consensus around the legislative changes, has indicated any elections before the law is changed might be considered unconstitutional and illegitimate.

21 Dec 2020, 11:49 AM

STA, 21 December 2020 - Slovenian health authorities are examining the situation and will propose action after a new, highly virulent strain of coronavirus was confirmed in the UK. The government will decide on any measures at the proposal of its medical task force, the Foreign Ministry said.

Slovenia does not currently have air links with the UK and hence does not need to ban flights from the UK like many other European countries have done. And under existing quarantine rules, arrivals from the UK require a negative Covid-19 test or have to quarantine for ten days.

Prime Minister Janez Janša wrote on Twitter last night that Slovenia had "prepared measures to close borders, because there is a chance that the mutated virus is also present in some other EU countries."

At least one case of the mutated strain has been confirmed in Italy in a man who recently arrived from the UK and is now quarantining, according to multiple media reports.

21 Dec 2020, 04:13 AM

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This summary is provided by the STA

NGOs warn newest corona package abolishes their state funding

LJUBLJANA - The Centre for Information, Cooperation and Development of NGOs (CNVOS) warned the the most recent corona crisis package, adopted by the government on Saturday, envisaged the abolishment of the state's fund for NGOs, the only systemic source of state funding for NGOs in Slovenia. Without state funding, there will be no more independent work in human rights, transparency, fight against corruption, fake news, hate speech, as well as a number of social projects designed to help vulnerable groups, CNVOS said. Economist Matej Lahovik, who is advising the government on corona crisis measures meanwhile told Radio Slovenija that NGO received between EUR 300 million and EUR 400 million from various ministries.

884 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, positivity rate over 33%

LJUBLJANA - 884 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in 2,646 tests on Saturday, pushing the positivity to 33.4%, the government said on Sunday. 39 people died, while 41 were discharged from hospital. Out of a total of 1,214 Covid-19 patients in hospital, 201 were in intensive care. The Health Ministry's data show that 2,358 people have died so far and the number of infections climbed to 105,897. Meanwhile, PM Janez Janša called on Slovenians to keep their contacts with others to a minimum in the coming weeks and advised Slovenians not to leave the country because entry into Slovenia and many other EU members will be very restricted.

Broken Bones Gin Ljubljana Slovenia (5).jpg

Looking for a last-minute gift? Broken Bones Gin, the award-winning gin made in Ljubljana - named Best in Europe and available here

Health Ministry postpones start of trial mass testing by a day

LJUBLJANA - The Health Ministry decided to postpone the start of voluntary trial mass testing from Monday to Tuesday. Expert consultations are taking place, including about additional sites, the ministry told the STA. Details are to be presented tomorrow. The four-day trial testing was to start tomorrow morning in Congress Square in Ljubljana.

Woman rescued after giving birth in woods in the night

KOPER - Police officers, paramedics and soldiers provided help this morning to a migrant woman who had just given birth in the woods near the village of Rakitovec on the border with Croatia. Both mother and her newborn daughter are healthy, the Koper Police Administration said in a press release. They were a part of a group of abut ten people, four Iranians and six Afghanistanis, two families who had requested international protection in Slovenia, the press release said. A few hours later the Koper police, accompanied by soldiers, also found a citizen of Morocco with a seven-month old child near the Socerb castle. She also requested asylum for herself and her child.

Import of PPE and medical equipment in Jan-Sept six times higher than in 2019

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia imported six times more personal protective and medical equipment in the first nine months of 2020 than in the whole of 2019, the Statistics Office said. Slovenia imported EUR 175 million worth of protective and medical equipment between January and September, which was also seven times more than in the entire 2018. 67.4% all products imported are in the group of other finished textile products, which includes protective face masks. Gloves accounted for 15.4% of imported products and ventilators for 8.9%, while other wearable items, which includes surgery gowns accounted for 8.3%.

Slovenians third in women's Cross Country World Cup team sprint

DRESDEN, Germany - Slovenians Anamarija Lampič and Eva Urevc finished third in the women's team sprint finals at the FIS Cross Country World Cup in Dresden. The Swiss Nadine Fähndrich and Laurien van der Graaff won the race, while Russian Yulia Stupak and Natalia Nepryaeva were second. The Slovenian team finished the race 1.12 seconds behind the winners who crossed the finish line in 16:38.34, while the Russians came in 0.32 seconds after the Swiss.

If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here


20 Dec 2020, 15:50 PM

STA, 19 December 2020 - Some 72,000 Slovenians have expressed their interest in getting a Covid-19 vaccine by registering on the e-government portal. While hospitals are getting ready for vaccination to start, the Health Ministry said Slovenia is to get the first batch of nearly 10,000 doses on 26 December.

Slovenia's national vaccination strategy for Covid-19 stipulates that health care workers, and residents and staff at elderly care homes will be the first to get the vaccine.

It is unclear as yet where vaccination will kick off first, with the Health Ministry telling the STA on Friday that it was drafting instructions for the public.

The Health Ministry also said Friday evening that the country would receive the first batch of 9,745 vaccines on 26 December. Two doses must be administered to each individual three weeks apart.

"Vaccination will start immediately after the vaccine is ready and distributed to vaccination points," the ministry said.

The entire batch will be delivered to the pharmacy of UKC Ljubljana hospital, where it will be stored at -80 degrees Celsius. The hospital pharmacy's capacities suffice for the amount of vaccine which is to be delivered, the ministry said.

While the pharmacy will get the doses ready for administering, the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) will take over the distribution to care homes, health centres and hospitals. The vaccine will be transported at temperatures between two and eight degrees Celsius.

However, vaccination will only be able to start after the European Medicines Agency approves the vaccine. The agency is expected to announce on Monday whether it has okayed the vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech.

Vaccination in the EU is expected to start simultaneously in all member states, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen saying on Thursday that it would start on 27, 28 and 29 December.

Hospitals across Slovenia are getting ready for the vaccine roll-out, with several saying they expected more detailed instructions from the Health Ministry.

In Slovenia's biggest hospital, UKC Ljubljana, so far more than 3,000 out of its 8,500 employees have said they would get vaccinated. The hospital also told the STA that this year a record 33% of employees got a flu shot.

The UKC Maribor hospital, the country's second biggest, is in the process of checking how many of its staff would like to get vaccinated. "Vaccination will be a big challenge," the hospital also told the STA.

The general hospitals in Celje and Murska Sobota are also getting ready, but both have told the STA that they want more detailed instructions.

You can register your interest in receiving the vaccine here

20 Dec 2020, 11:36 AM

STA, 20 December 2020 - The Centre for Information, Cooperation and Development of NGOs (CNVOS) has warned the most recent corona crisis package, adopted by the government on Saturday, envisaged the abolishment of the state's fund for NGOs, the only systemic source of state funding for NGOs in Slovenia.

The abolishment will take money from volunteer networks, the Caritas, and sports organisations, among others, and stop the development of NGOs and drawing of EU funds, CNVOS said, wondering how this would help mitigate the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic.

The senior coalition Democratic Party (SDS)"slipped the abolishment" into the seventh corona package, CNVOS said. "They have tried to do this this twice in recent months but without success. This time they managed to force the abolishment."

"The NGO fund is a thorn in the side of the biggest government party because it is the only systemic source of funding for non-governmental organisations, and the government cannot wilfully strip it of the money because it is protected by the NGOs act. Therefore the SDS now wants to change the act," CNVOS said in a press release.

Without state funding, there will be no more independent work in human rights, transparency, fight against corruption, fake news, hate speech, as well as a number of social projects designed to help vulnerable groups, CNVOS said.

The EUR 5.2 million fund also finances EU-funded projects and by losing this source, NGOs will not be able to get EU funding. None of this has ever been nor can it be funded by individual ministries, the press release said.

It added that the government tried to divert the attention from this move by proposing a 0.5% increase in personal income tax donations, which would amount to EUR 4.7 million. NGOs have been in favour of this for a long time, but this cannot substitute state funding, because these are completely different forms of funding.

Tax donations go primarily to people's local associations, such as firefighter societies, sport clubs and cultural associations. On average, NGOs get EUR 913 per year from tax donations, with nearly 800 NGOs receiving less than EUR 5, CNVOS said.

Meanwhile, the NGOs fund has a completely different purpose, the press release said. It is the only source of state funding used for development and innovation in NGOs. Moreover, funding from the fund is considerably higher on average than tax donations.

Economist Matej Lahovik, who is advising the government on corona crisis measures meanwhile told Radio Slovenija that NGO received between EUR 300 million and EUR 400 million from various ministries.

The changes do not interfere with these funds but only with the distribution of tax donations. Currently donations that have not been donated to a particular NGO are distributed by an expert commission.

"We are talking about four to five million euro that were being distributed by politically-appointed expert commissions and now people will have the opportunity to give them to chosen associations directly," said Lahovnik.

20 Dec 2020, 11:18 AM

STA, 19 December 2020 - The government adopted on Saturday a new economic stimulus package. Direct income support for groups including pensioners, students and those with the lowest wages is planned along with aid for companies. Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said the package is estimated at around EUR 550 million.

All employees with wages up to twice the minimum wage will get a one-off payment of EUR 200 from their employers that will then be refunded by the Tax Administration.

Pensioners will get EUR 130-300 depending on their pensions. Those with pensions up to EUR 714 will be eligible.

Students will get income support of EUR 150, and whose who receive child allowance will get an extra EUR 50 per child.

Farmers over 65 with income under EUR 591 will get EUR 150.

Religious workers will get a basic income of EUR 700, plus their social security contributions will be covered by the state.

Employees in hospitals and nursing homes will get a 30% increase in hourly pay, with the hike at 65% for those "working in particularly risky conditions," according to Šircelj.

The income support payments are broadly similar to measures adopted during the first wave of the epidemic.

"The social component of this package is significant, we are confident that these transfers will improve the welfare of those who need these allowances the most," he said.

For companies, special loans will be available from the state-owned SID Banka, while companies that suffered a revenue decline in excess of 70% will be eligible for aid of EUR 2,000 per employee in fixed costs.

There are also special provisions helping transport companies, rent assistance for companies, payment of rapid coronavirus tests for companies, and waiver of VAT on medical equipment needed to fight the epidemic.

One of the drafts of the legislative package included a partial suspension of the scheduled increase in the minimum wage, which takes effect on 1 January.

The proposal was met with strong resistance from trade unions, some of which started to gear up for industrial action.

Šircelj said a provision to this effect was not included in the bill. He said it is something employers and trade unions would have to agree among themselves.

According to the minister, the bill, which has not been made publicly available yet, would be sent to parliament as soon as possible.

20 Dec 2020, 11:04 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 18 December 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Govt acting like Trump regarding epidemic

STA, 18 December 2020 – Mladina, the left-leaning weekly, says in its latest commentary that if it only appeared in the last few months that, in fighting the Covid-19 epidemic the Slovenian government was doing exactly what Donald Trump was doing until his defeat in the US presidential election, this has now become completely transparent.

"[PM] Janez Janša cares about the dead and infected and the raging of the epidemic like his role model Donald Trump does. And the same is true for his party. Trump followed capital and benefits that he could himself indirectly gain from this capital, and Janša is doing the same here. Everything negative that happens is only collateral damage of that fight for authority and power."

In the commentary headlined How Many More Dead?, the left-leaning weekly adds that the government's fight against the epidemic is completely falling apart, and that there is no professional logic in its measures, as everything is only a political battle.

All serious and even less serious experts have given up and withdrawn, and MPs have no other option than to seriously weigh their power and responsibility, as the current government has started working in a completely opposite direction.

"The chaos suits it. Janša is aware that he is not capable of salvaging the situation, that he has no one who would give him the impression that the measures are logical and justified. And this is why this government no longer deals with the epidemic, it is now only about keeping power and extending the term."

While countries with incomparably better epidemiological situation started introducing stricter measures, Slovenia relaxed the lockdown. "Remember when Trump did not want to halt public life? How he ridiculed Europe? How the interests of capital were preferred to the right to live? Everything we saw in America, we can now observe in Slovenia."

Mladina concludes by saying that the public hopes that MPs of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) will understand where Slovenia is at and that they will be able to admit that they were wronged. "Perhaps even New Slovenia (NSi) should think about where this government has taken us."

Reporter: Fight with epidemic lost due to distrust in govt

STA, 14 December 2020 – Reporter, the right-leaning weekly, says in its latest commentary that the Janez Janša government is losing the trust of people as one of the key elements in battling the epidemic, and that it has never been closer to its end than today. The longer the political agony lasts, the longer Slovenia will be running idle in fighting the epidemic, it adds.

The weekly wonders in the commentary Running Idle why Slovenia has failed to stop the epidemic, saying that one of the reasons is certainly that the government reacted too late, when the spread of the epidemic could not be stopped any more.

While neighbouring countries are opening up, Slovenia is in a lockdown and all there restrictions are taking too long and people are tired of restrictive measures, "especially when they see that the ruling party abuses them to consolidate power."

It is hard to convince people that protesters or the opposition are to blame for the spread of the epidemic, which is something that Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek of the Modern Centre Party (SMS) has also figured out.

Unlike the leaders of the largest coalition party, the Democrats (SDS), he has pointed to the responsibility of the current government, including the dwindling trust in PM Janez Janša, Reporter says, commending Počivalšek for calling a spade a spade.

If people have the feeling that the government unnecessarily restricts their fundamental rights instead of protecting their heath, the war against the epidemic is lost.

As for Janša, Reporter says that his "ideological behaviour does not bother only the opposition supporters, but also members of the coalition parties such as the SMC and DeSUS. It is no wonder, then, that Janša's government has never been closer to its end than today."

Karl Erjavec has returned as Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) president to take the "first step towards the downfall of the third Janša government" by publicly rejecting the possibility of serving in the government as minister.

Erjavec has launched the process of DeSUS leaving the government only to be slowed down by DeSUS deputies, but the question is how much longer can they "save Janša's government with their stubbornness before it falls apart by itself."

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