STA, 27 January 2020 - The government's relative inefficiency and PM Marjan Šarec's realising it would be very hard to secure a majority to appoint two new ministers after the defence and finance ministers have announced stepping down, are the reasons for which Šarec stepped down, pundits have told the STA. They say it is now hard to predict the course of developments.
"Šarec has apparently assessed that given the degree of its inefficiency, the government would not be able to implement certain measures and he would be eventually blamed for it, so he decided to check the situation in an election now rather than any time later," says Domovina news portal editor Rok Čakš.
Andraž Zorko of pollster Valicon meanwhile says there are several reasons for Šarec's resignation, but the key cause was Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj's resignation, announced today.
Zorko says that replacing one minister after Defence Minister Karl Erjavec announced his plan to resign earlier this month would have been a major challenge in itself.
Čakš agrees, saying December's appointment of Angelika Mlinar as cohesion minister "caused this government agonising pain" and "the question is how much energy and time would have to be invested to get a new finance minister through parliament".
However, Šarec' move was not entirely unexpected since he is the only one who could gain from an early election, "while it was harder to imagine he would trigger the process leading to an early election himself".
Zorko believes that while future developments are uncertain, they will depend on the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC), saying "the SMC is the key piece on the chess board and SMC leader Zdravko Počivalšek the bishop".
Of course, this is true only if the opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) assess an early election is not a good possibility, he says.
The two conservative parties have 33 MPs in the 90-year parliament, so if joined by 10 SMC MPs, they they would need just another small party - for instance the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) or the three MPs of the opposition National Party (SNS) to form a coalition.
Similarly, Čakš sees the coalition SAB as the main candidate to switch coalitions, since its chances to make it to parliament are rather slim, according to polls.
Among the parties "probably not keen on an early election" he also mentions the SNS, and notes that only a simple majority is needed to appoint a new prime minister-designate.
Should the parties opt to form a new coalition instead of going to an early election, Zorko and Čakč could not anticipate who the prime minister-designate would be.
Zorko finds it likely it would be a non-partisan candidate with strong support in parliament, or NSi leader Matej Tonin or SMC leader Zdravko Počivalšek.
In case of an early election, Zorko expects an unpredictable situation, and Čakš says the interpretation of who is to be blamed for the early election in the media will be crucial.
"This is where Šarec risks the most," says Čaks, arguing that if he manages to convince the public that he found himself in a dead-end and that he needs more votes to run the country successfully, then he could win the election.
Meanwhile, constitutional jurist Ciril Ribičič says an early election could not be disputed because the deadline set by the Constitutional Court to change electoral legislation has not yet expired.
Although it is not good for an election to be held if the electoral laws are not in line with the Constitution, "it's not as bad as it may seem".
Ribičič points to the fact that "only one thing is not in line with the Constitution, namely the different sizes of electoral districts".
In December 2018, the Constitutional Court gave parliament two years to change the legislation.