STA, March 20, 2018 – The Slovenian government was relegated to caretaker role on Tuesday as the National Assembly was formally acquainted with the resignation of Prime Minister Miro Cerar, triggering electoral proceedings on course for a late-spring election.
Cerar announced his resignation last week following the annulment of the Koper-Divača rail track referendum, with the argument that he wanted to protect the country against actions by interest groups that threatened the country's future.
He was referring to the group behind the rail track referendum, pay demands by public sector unions, and efforts by coalition partners to dole out election candy.
"The events of recent weeks were no longer in the interest of Slovenia's prosperity," Cerar told MPs today as he lamented "anti-developmental actions and increasingly unmanageable appetites by various political and other players."
The formal notice of resignation has triggered electoral proceedings. Just hours after Cerar's speech, President Borut Pahor will start consultations with deputy groups before he sets a date for the general election.
It was widely believed the election would be held on 10 June, but with Cerar stepping down unexpectedly less than three months before the regular election was due to take place, the date could shift into late May.
The final decision will probably depend on how fast the parties can agree on changes to a constitutional law that would shield the NLB bank from lawsuits over Yugoslav-era deposits in Croatia.
The date also depends on how many formally available options will be explored before a decision is made, as the law allows the president as well as groups of deputies to put forward a new prime minister-designate in the event of the incumbent's resignation.
Considering the proximity of the election date, President Pahor is highly unlikely to nominate a PM-designate, but others may.
The opposition Democratic Party (SDS) has hinted it might formally propose a PM-designate just to give parliament enough time to amend the constitutional law to shield the NLB bank from Croatian claims.
And today, the populist independent MP Janko Veber, who recently left the Social Democrats (SD), said he would seek to collect the requisite ten MP signatures to mount a bid. He said the goal was to "prevent Slovenia's sell-off".