STA, 7 October 2019 - Former Health Minister Tomaž Gantar stepped down as vice-president of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) in September. In today's statement for the STA, Gantar was critical of the way Karl Erjavec is leading the party, saying his leadership style was less and less democratic.
Gantar, who has been a prominent member of DeSUS for years, is returning to his medical profession.
The former health minister said he was unhappy with the party's work recently. He said vice presidents did not have clearly defined roles and subsequently had no significant influence on the work of the party.
He will, however, remain a member of the party.
Erjavec would not comment on Gantar's resignation or his statements about party leadership today.
Meanwhile, DeSUS deputy group head Franc Jurša said that everyone was entitled to make assessments about anybody's work. "I would not assess Erjavec at this point," he said.
Juša also said that he did not sense any friction among top party officials but that messages did come on a daily basis from the field. Many think the party should do more, he added.
DeSUS, which has been on a downward trajectory for some time, will hold an extraordinary election congress on 17 January.
The party won only five seats in the National Assembly in 2018 and failed to secure a single MEP post in the May EU election.
Erjavec offered his resignation already after the general election, but the party council rejected it. After the EU election, however, the party decided it was time for an election congress.
The long-serving party head and current Defence Minister Erjavec announced he would run for another term. So far, no other candidates have announced their bids.
Asked whether it would be good if Erjavec had a rival at the congress, Jurša did not give a straightforward answer. He said that multiple candidates made election more interesting from the democratic point of view.
"But being a party president is not a rewarding job and I don't know if any of those who would be capable of running the party will decide for it."
Gantar said today he would not run for any posts at the congress.