Šarec Gains the Support of the Left, Securing Position as PM

By , 10 Aug 2018, 17:04 PM Politics
Levica on the left, Šarec on the right Levica on the left, Šarec on the right Montage: JL Flanner

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STA, 10 August 2018 - The Left and five parties involved in coalition talks have initialled a cooperation protocol paving the way for the appointment of Marjan Šarec as prime minister-designate and for the formation of a minority government. The Left (Levica) will also provide votes for Social Democrat (SD) president Dejan Židan to become parliamentary speaker. 

"There are no more obstacles ... we have 52 votes," Šarec told the press after the meeting of six parties on Friday. The Left pledged support for Šarec in the prime minister-designate vote a week from today, and said it would not vote against his government team in September.

Luka Mesec of the Left confirmed for the press that the protocol provides that Šarec would discuss ministerial candidates with the Left in exchange for the Left not opposing his picks.

The Left is reserved about some of the most likely ministerial candidates, most of all, against incumbent Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek.

Both Šarec and Mesec said that a potential cabinet was not on the agenda today. The names for the team are to be discussed immediately after Šarec is appointed prime minister-designate.

When asked whether the Left, which will be in the opposition and will not have its own ministers, might get a state secretary, Mesec said this was being discussed.

Šarec was reserved in his comments on the recent indications of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) that it may not become a part of the coalition but instead provide support for a minority government like the Left. He said that the SAB signed the protocol today.

The SAB told the STA after the meeting that it initialled the protocol after progress was made on its contents. The final decision on signing the protocol and joining the coalition will be made by the party's council, which will meet after the prime minister-designate vote.

The cooperation protocol states that it is based on the coalition agreement, which will continue to be hammered out by the potential coalition partners.

Šarec added that the document had already been approved by the bodies of several parties and would not undergo any more changes.

Mesec labelled the protocol a novelty and "a good opportunity to break off the old practice ... that saw key decisions being made behind closed doors."

"This time around, the decision-making process will have to be more open, transparent and focused on finding compromises beneficial for all," Mesec underlined.

According to him, the protocol also lays down that project timelines would be defined once a year. Every six months the coalition and the Left would examine the progress of the projects and would hold coordinating meetings each month.

The Left is to manage at least two projects. The protocol also states that the party is obligated to endorse national budgets on the condition that it participates in budget talks from the very beginning.

The protocol already includes the first projects the minority government is to tackle by the end of the year. "Pensions and shorter waiting periods in healthcare will be key, while the Left's project will focus on the minimum wage," said Mesec.

The minimum wage is to be raised from EUR 638 to EUR 700 in a year and a half, according to the draft coalition agreement.

Mesec added that the draft coalition agreement entailed an increase in the pension base to 63% of the salary and that the lowest pensions would be raised above the poverty threshold to EUR 620.

Moreover, widowers' pensions would also be raised and the employers' contributions to the pension purse would go up by 12% by the end of the minority government's term.

Mesec moreover confirmed that the Left would provide votes to appoint Židan speaker. The vote is expected to take place either on 17 or 23 August. They hope to at least appoint deputy speakers a week from today.

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