Centre-Left Parties Restart Coalition Talks, Led by Šarec

By , 20 Jul 2018, 15:08 PM Politics
Majan Šarec speaks to the media last month Majan Šarec speaks to the media last month From the Facebook page of Stranka LMŠ

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STA, 20 July 2018 - The five centre-left parties headed by the election runner-up Marjan Šarec have decided to resume talks after conservative New Slovenia (NSi) walked out in a bid to form a coalition that will have more than 46 votes in the 90-member National Assembly. Asked to explain, they said the Left would be involved this time. 

The decision to resume the coalition talks was announced by the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) on Friday after a meeting of the secretaries general of the LMŠ, Social Democrats (SD), Modern Centre Party (SMC), Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) and the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), which have 43 MPs between them.

Asked by the STA to explain how they would reach a majority, the LMŠ said that the Left would be "in the fray" in the continuation of talks. The far-left party has 9 MPs, which would increase the tally of votes of such a coalition to 52.

The leaders of the five centre-left parties are expected to meet on Tuesday without representatives of the Left. Marjan Šarec discussed cooperation with the Left in the past few days, while there have been no joint talks featuring the Left and officials from the other four parties as yet.

The five centre-left parties had been negotiating a coalition agreement with the NSi, but despite a high degree of understanding on most key points, the NSi decided on Monday to quit talks, citing concerns about the stability of such a coalition and a lack of trust.

Later on Friday, the Left indicated it was willing to enter talks with the five parties, but expected them to be held under the same conditions as with the NSi.

Its leader Luka Mesec said the talks should result in a completely different coalition agreement from the present draft, which he said "contains some harmful policies for the country".

The Left expects its pre-election goals to be at least partly included in the coalition agreement, Mesec said after the party's executive board session.

He reiterated the party will try to get into the document higher pay and pensions, a different environmental policy, redirecting defence funds towards development policies, as well as strengthening science, culture and healthcare, which should basically stay public.

The Left would also be willing to discuss a project-based partnership modelled on Portugal. This means the five centre-left parties would form a minority government which would be appointed with Left votes. In turn, the government would implement some of the projects from Left's election platform, Mesec said.

The Left has not yet received an invitation to a meeting with Šarec, but understood from today's media reports that it could expect it next week. Mesec also said they had met Šarec twice so far, not for talks but merely for a courtesy meeting.

After the meeting of the secretaries-general today, the LMŠ said that the quintet assessed that the coalition agreement was good, being the product of negotiation between six parties.

"We consider it a success that we had six parties at the same table, which shows that we know how to cooperate and come together on key issues as well as contentious issues."

Monday will mark the end of the first round of attempts to nominate a prime minister-designate as President Borut Pahor formally notifies the National Assembly that he will not nominate anyone because no one enjoys the needed support in the legislature.

The National Assembly is expected to take note of Pahor's decision on Friday, after which a second round of nomination will follow in which the president as well as MPs are eligible to put forward a candidate for a PM-designate.

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