STA, 16 June 2019 - The National Assembly will discuss the opposition-sponsored motion to oust Defence Minister Karl Erjavec as it convenes two sessions this week. The opposition Democrats (SDS) believe that Erjavec abused the military intelligence service and unlawfully dismissed the army's force commander. Erjavec appears to enjoy sufficient support to stay on.
Pressure on Erjavec has been rising because a parliamentary commission investigating Erjavec's alleged abuse of the intelligence service has interviewed the dismissed Force Commander Miha Škerbinc last week.
Škerbinc's appearance before the Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services behind closed doors on Thursday allegedly showed that Erjavec had been lying about the reasons for Škerbinc's dismissal.
Commission chair Žan Mahnič, an MP for the SDS, said that Škerbinc had provided a report by Chief of the General Staff Alenka Ermenc showing that Škerbinc had not broken the chain of command as regards late-night shooting at training grounds near Postojna.
Commenting on a report by Ermenc saying that the military had been following closely the ministry's order about activities on the training ground, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said on Friday that Erjavec will have to explain what happened.
The prime minister however also said that the parliamentary commission was a political body. "It has an investigative role but there is a thin line between having powers and abusing powers," the prime minister said, echoing Erjavec's position that the commission had abused its powers for political purposes.
Moreover, Mahnič said that Škerbinc told the commission he had not spread rumours about Ermenc's ill health, which was another reason cited by Erjavec after the dismissal.
Škerbinc said that he had 200 witnesses to prove that he did not spread lies, according to Mahnič, who said that the former force commander told the commission that he condemned the rumours about her poor health that had been going around in an address.
Before debating the motion to oust Erjavec in a dedicated session on Friday, the National Assembly will convene a regular session starting on Monday with questions time for the government.
Other business: Apppointments, energy infrastructure, private schools, bear & wolf culls, tobacco sales
On Tuesday, the MPs will take a vote on the reappointment of Information Commissioner Mojca Prelesnik, the appointment of Rok Čeferin to the Constitutional Court and the appointment of Peter Golob as Electoral Commission chairman.
Moreover, the MPs will conduct the second reading of changes to the energy act transposing two relevant EU regulations and changing compensation procedures for the construction of public energy infrastructure, which was ordered by the Constitutional Court.
The most heated debates can be expected on Wednesday, when parliament is scheduled to launch the first reading of legislative changes drafted to implement a decision by the Constitutional Court ordering the National Assembly to provide equal funding to private primary schools.
Private schools, as well as the opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) believe the changes do not transpose the decision of the Constitutional Court.
On Thursday, MPs are expected to pass a emergency bill ordering the culling of bears and wolves in the wake of attacks on farm animals and increasingly frequent sightings after an environmental NGO successfully challenged the government's decree with the same cull order in Administrative Court.
The parliament is also expected to fast-track changes to the tobacco act postponing by three years the introduction of uniform packaging for tobacco products, initially planned for January 2020. The proponents of the changes want to conduct studies whether the measure is actually effective.