STA, 8 March 2019 - Health Minister Samo Fakin has notified Prime Minister Marjan Šarec that he is stepping down because of ill health, after being on sick leave since 18 February. Šarec told the press that he would inform the public about Fakin's successor in the coming days.
In his resignation note to Šarec on Friday, Fakin said he was resigning because his recovery had not been progressing quickly enough. Šarec, who visited Fakin at home yesterday, said today that "this move was necessary at this moment".
Šarec also said that the outgoing minister's illness was "nothing that can't be treated, but things have piled up. He suffered an extended bout of bronchitis, followed by pneumonia."
Fakin told the newspaper Finance over the phone that "changing health legislation is very demanding. It requires a healthy person and I am not. When deciding what to do, health took priority."
"I haven't thought about a successor and I'm leaving that up to others," he told Finance. While he remains on sick leave, State Secretary Pia Vračko will continue to stand in for him, the Health Ministry said.
When asked how the change at the ministry will affect the reforms planned by his government, Šarec said that the goals remained unchanged.
He also said that he was happy with Fakin's work. "The minister is one of few people who know the entire system. He identified the real problems and addressed them. There can be no quick solutions in this ministry."
"Because he set such high goals, he now realised that he will not be able to see it through, being ill. We need a person capable of seeing things through."
But this will be no easy task. The next minister will have their work cut out for them. "The tasks are really tough," said the prime minister.
Fakin is the fourth minister in the Šarec government to step down after Environment Minister Jure Leben, Cohesion Minister Marko Bandelli and Culture Minister Dejan Prešiček.
Health ministers who last an entire government term are few and far between in Slovenia. Several said after leaving the position that they gave up on health reform, a project in the works for many years, due to strong pressure from various lobbies.