STA, 3 August 2020 - The pressure is building for Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec to give her side of the story about allegations of integrity breach or conflict of interest made against her. The MPs of her Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) said on Monday they expected to hear her explanations on Friday, however Pivec plans to do that next week.
The MPs are unanimous in asking for concrete explanations for Pivec's conduct and expect to hear them at the party's meeting on Friday.
The DeSUS deputy faction discussed today what the next steps should be in the wake of the media reports alleging Pivec's professional misconduct and risk of corruption in regard to her recent visits to winemaker Vinakras in the Kras region and the town of Izola, which have raised questions about who paid for them and whether there was potential payment of services for private purposes or family members.
Pivec has denied the allegations and announced that she would provide explanations after she returned from her annual leave. Her party peers expect explanations already on Friday and have requested DeSUS council vice-president Tomaž Gantar to convene a party council session by 25 August at the latest.
"Due to leave of absence, I am to meet DeSUS deputy faction MPs as soon as I return to Ljubljana (presumably next Monday) where I will provide them with all the explanations related to my work," said the DeSUS leader on Twitter today.
Zaradi odsotnosti se bom s poslanci poslanske skupine @stranka_DeSUS sestala takoj, ko se vrnem v Ljubljano (predvidoma naslednji ponedeljek), kjer bom poslancem podala vsa pojasnila, povezana z mojim delom.— Aleksandra Pivec (@APivec) August 3, 2020
Meanwhile, some Izola municipality officials have raised questions about the way the town has been spending its municipal funds, reported Radio Slovenija.
Izola deputy mayor Aleksej Skok, a SocDems town councillor, believes that accommodation cost incurred during the minister's visit should be looked into by the town's supervisory board. The board's chair meanwhile said that the matter was outside the board's competence, according to Radio Slovenija.
The coalition parties have so far been reserved in their comments on the developments, whereas the opposition is critical of Pivec's actions, with the Marjan Šarec Party (LMŠ) and the Left going as far as demanding her resignation.
The anti-graft watchdog is looking into the matter to determine whether there are grounds for a more in-depth investigation.