Centre-Left Parties Launch New Attempt to Impeach Janša

By , 02 Apr 2021, 14:21 PM Politics
The party leaders in front of Parliament The party leaders in front of Parliament Twitter

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STA, 2 April 2021 - Four centre-left opposition parties have tabled a motion asking the National Assembly to impeach Prime Minister Janez Janša before the Constitutional Court, accusing him of violating several articles of the constitution and laws, pertaining to healthcare, media, prosecution and human and constitutional rights. Janša called the move pathetic.

Addressing reporters in front of the parliament, Marjan Šarec, the former prime minister and leader of the LMŠ party, presented Slovenia's failure to order its full share of available vaccines against Covid-19 in December as the first count of the motion.

On the second count, the LMŠ, Social Democrats (SD), the Left and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) accuse the Janša government of "deliberate destruction" of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) through suspension of financing.

The government is also accused of breaking legislation on prosecution by failing to appoint five out of ten prosecutor candidates put forward in the autumn and "dragging its feet" in the appointment of the selected candidates for European delegated prosecutors.

All those charges show "the government is eroding the foundations of democracy [...] Based on ideology it is destroying basic human rights and constitutional rights," SD leader Tanja Fajon said, offering the "spread of violence against women" as one example.

Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, highlighted the government's military investment plans, which his party has been trying to prevent through a referendum, asserting the government was trying daily to break the limits of power set by the constitution.

SAB leader Alenka Bratušek added that the health crisis had been compounded by a crisis of democratic values. "It's more than obvious Janez Janša cannot govern in a crisis."

One of the accusations levelled at the government is that the government has put the constitutional right to clean drinking water at risk through controversial amendments to the water act.

Responding on his Twitter account, Janša called the motion yet another "pathetic move" aimed at destabilising the country during the epidemic, which he said followed the failed vote of no confidence in him, "media murders of coalition partners DeSUS and SMC and a series of failed interpellations".

"The worse for Slovenia, the better for the parties SD, LMŠ and the Left," Janša said.

In a separate post, he responded to Fajon's calls for an end to violations, addressing them back to her: "We haven't heard this clear self-criticism from Tanja Fajon or the SD party before. Will actions follow? A move out of the stolen Jewish villa? No more banishing media from their press conferences? No more bowing to mass murderers? No more intolerant declining of invitations from the president?".

For the motion to succeed, it would have to be backed by at least 46 of the 90 deputies of the National Assembly. The legislature needs to decide on the proposal within 60 days or else it is considered rejected. If backed, the motion is then referred to the Constitutional Court.

Šarec said the motion was an opportunity for "each MP to take a stand". The parties propose for President Borut Pahor to state his opinion on the motion as well.

He said the deputy group established by MPs who defected from the factions of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) and the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), a former coalition partner, did not sign on to the motion but they had not talked about their potential support in the vote.

In response, the head of the group, Janja Sluga, said the charges listed in the motion were "exactly" why they left the SMC deputy group and coalition.

Janša's Democratic Party (SDS) will respond once it has studied the motion, but its coalition partner New Slovenia (NSi) accused the opposition of "destructive and irresponsible conduct".

The opposition "appear to be willing to use all available means to add political instability to the aggravated epidemiological picture", instead of joining forces in defeating the Covid crisis, said the NSi.

In a similar vein, Zmago Jelinčič, the leader of the National Party (SNS), said the motion showed the left opposition were "in a terrible panic, willing to ruin the country and homeland to regain former privileges.

The SMC and DeSUS are yet to take a stand.

This is the seventh impeachment motion to date, including one targeting a president. Most have been tabled by Janša's SDS and none have so far been successful.

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