STA, 17 February 2020- The secretary general of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) Jernej Pavlič rejected on Monday speculation that SAB was considering joining a potential centre-right government. "Talks on entering a Janez Janša government never took place and we'll never engage in them," he said, adding SAB's deputy group stood united in this respect.
Pavlič explained that SAB had only exchanged two emails with the head of the Democrats (SDS), informing him they could not attend the first round of talks hosted by him because of meetings scheduled for the party's bodies on the same day.
Pavlič said Janša replied by saying that SAB obviously lacked interest and was excluding itself from the talks for the time being. "He was correct in establishing this," he said.
Pavlič added that SAB, a centre-left party with 5 MPs which was part of the recently disbanded coalition, would not abandon its priorities, which include pensioners, public education and public healthcare.
"The priories are not in line with the coalition emerging under Janša. We don't intend to give up on our priorities merely to keep our seats or any other posts," Pavlič said.
As for the speculation that some of SAB's MPs may join Janša after all, he acknowledged some statements had been made or interpreted the wrong way, but added it had been clarified now that SAB will remain an opposition party in case of a Janša government and support good proposals.
SAB on the other hand still has not given up on its initiative for a new "project-based government" that would focus on key projects until a new election is called under a revised electoral law.
Talks have already been held with the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), New Slovenia (NSi) and the SocDems and a meeting is also scheduled with the Modern Centre Party (SMC), Pavlič explained.
Scholars protest Janša
Meanwhile, a group of left-leaning scholars warned today against a potential Janša-led government, writing in a letter that this could quickly lead Slovenia into the circle of EU members listed as violators of democratic principles, the rule of law, of media independence and human rights.
Led by sociologist Rudi Rizman, the 74 scholars, among them eight former university rectors, say the SDS was unacceptable because its authoritarian and nationalist populist traits presented a great danger for democratic culture and political processes in the country.
It is also unacceptable in terms of economic and social affairs, the SDS being bent on ruthless privatisation of companies, of public education and healthcare, the petition says, while also noting the SDS is a denier of human influence on climate change.
It is moreover "completely unacceptable because it is funding its propaganda illegally from foreign sources that are closely connected to the authoritarian government of the neighbouring country, which means a serious peril to our sovereignty and financial independence".
The petition comes after a group that included Žiga Turk, the reform minister in Janša's second government, former MEP from the ranks of the SDS Romana Jordan, economists Igor Masten and Sašo Polanec, and banker Marko Voljč called last week for the formation of an inclusive and operational coalition.
They addressed a letter to all parliamentary parties bar the Left and the National Party (SNS), expressing the belief that a snap election would not change the balance of powers. It would only widen Slovenia's development gap and slow down preparations for the EU presidency in 2021.