STA, 18 May 2020 - The ruling coalition's majority in parliament has been reduced to 46 out of 90 seats after MP Gregor Židan defected from the Modern Centre Party (SMC) to the opposition Social Democrats (SD).
The latest defection was confirmed by SD deputy faction leader Matjaž Han, who said Židan had established he could perform his work better in accordance with the values of the SD deputy group.
Židan did not comment on his defection, with Han telling reporters on Monday that such decisions were difficult on individuals, which was why Židan would not be explaining himself to the media.
"But I believe he will be able to tell many more things still in the political arena through his actions and views," said Han.
Asked about the reasons for the move, Han noted that Židan had been a successful member of the Slovenian national football team, and that he had expressed his disappointment that some should "speak ill" of Slovenia and he did not want to be a member of such a team.
Židan is the second MP to leave the SMC after Jani Möderndorfer quit the party to join the ranks of the opposition faction of Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) on Friday.
SMC leader Zdravko Počivalšek responded via Twitter with a pun on Židan's surname, which translates as jolly. "The jolly day for the sponsors of MP defections may be about to end," he tweeted.
However, the SMC deputy group expressed surprise by Židan's leaving "as he appeared to be comfortable within the new coalition".
The coalition faction regretted that individuals placed their own interests above common good, but also said that the departures "have contributed to the unity and determination of the remaining [SMC] deputies".
Židan was not elected to the National Assembly directly, but has been standing in as MP for Počivalšek since the latter was appointed economy minister.
Počivalšek served as economy minister in the Marjan Šarec minority government from 2018 until mid-March when his party helped form the Janez Janša government, where he continues in the same post.
The party's joining the centre-right government has prompted some members to quit, including the party founder Miro Cerar.
The SD deputy faction has increased its tally of seats at the National Assembly to 12, as the SMC's has been reduced to eight. The coalition of the SDS, SMC, NSi and DeSUS now has 46 seats.