Ljubljana related

04 Feb 2020, 09:18 AM

STA, 3 February 2020 - The leader of the largest opposition party, Janez Janša of the Democrats (SDS), has invited the other parliamentary parties to talks on a new coalition this Friday, the STA has learnt from several parties.

Janša would like to meet each party separately, and if common ground is found, he would plan a second round of talks for Tuesday, 11 February.

The SDS has also invited the coalition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), which today invited all parties but the SDS to form a "project coalition" which would be in office until electoral legislation is reformed.

Meanwhile, outgoing Prime Minister Marjan Šarec's LMŠ party and the opposition Left have already said they would not go to the SDS-led talks.

Friday's talks would try to establish whether the parties have compatible programmes for individual areas, or ministries.

The structure of a new government as well as suitable staff would also be discussed to form what the SDS terms For Slovenia coalition pledge.

In the invitation, Janša writes that Slovenia's greater prosperity is the basic goal after every election.

He believes that by forming a new coalition in this term at least some missed opportunities could be made up for.

Despite winning the 2018 election, the SDS was unable to form a government because it was snubbed by other parties, which Janša termed "irrational policy of exclusion".

He believes obstacles to the country's faster and balanced development should be eliminated, more freedom, security, responsibility and justice should be introduced, order restored in healthcare and strategic answers found to the ageing society. The new government should also help shape European solutions.

Janša stressed that the SDS was probably the only party fully ready for a potential early election.

Nevertheless, a new election could result in a similarly fragmented parliament, which would put it in a similarly difficult situation in terms of coalition-forming.

Janša also noted that by forming a coalition without going to elections would get Slovenia a new government as early as the start of the spring, as opposed to the end of the summer in case of an early election.

Šarec resigned on 27 January, 16 months after his government was sworn in, because he assessed he could not deliver on his promises with the minority government.

Tomorrow, President Borut Pahor is launching a three-day consultation with deputy group leaders on the way out of the current political crisis.

14 Jan 2020, 09:22 AM

STA, 13 January 2020 - Janez Janša, the leader of the opposition Democrats (SDS), believes that the coalition is "clinically dead" and with the current balance of power making it impossible to build a strong alternative majority, he thinks an early election is in the cards.

Janša told TV Slovenija in a rare interview late on Sunday that "it will be clear in the next few weeks" whether someone is ambitious enough to try to put together a government.

"We realize that it is impossible to put together something strong. The dilemma facing us and other parties is: do we prevent damage, or do we give it a sober deliberation whether ... the moment has come," he said.

While acknowledging that neither parties nor MPs or voters want an early election, he said that "some European countries head to the polls multiple times a year".

The former two-time prime minister described the Marjan Šarec government as "clinically dead", having previously being provided "artificial respiration" by the opposition Left.

"It is a political corpse that is cooling. And the speed of cooling depends primarily on the price list of [opposition National Party (SNS) leader] Zmago Jelinčič.

"He's the one who is keeping it alive. You be the judge of to what extent this is in the interest of the state and whether this is the stability that Slovenia needs," Janša told TV Slovenija.

The SNS has most recently helped the government appoint Angelika Mlinar as cohesion minister, providing the missing votes and the necessary abstentions to give the government a majority in parliament.

Speculation about a new coalition were given rise at the end of 2019 after the Left pulled out of a deal to support the minority government.

The right-leaning opposition New Slovenia (NSi) and the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) were being mentioned as potentially interested in it.

NSi leader Matej Tonin confirmed on Monday his party was taking part in talks about a potential new coalition, saying "talks on alternative coalitions between some coalition and opposition parties are under way all the time".

"If you're in politics and want to do something good for the state, you have to have your door constantly open and keep the talks going."

Although he declined to predict when a new government coalition could become a reality, he said a potential new prime minister-designate has also been discussed.

But it is Tonin's view that the necessary 46 votes, which the opposition itself does not have, could not be secured in the next few weeks.

Even if it were secured, a potential new government would have a rather weak parliamentary majority, he admitted.

He believes it would be best to form a new coalition after an early election, but admitted that apart from the NSi, nobody in parliament wanted an early election.

While the SAB and the SMC would not comment on Janša's statement, MP Jerca Korče of the ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) said the government was far from clinically dead.

She considers Janša's statements a destabilisation attempt, encouraging negativism, which she said Janša had been doing since the start of this government's term. Korče stressed the LMŠ was not worried about the talks on a new coalition being under way all the time.

"We are working, this is our duty. The talks others are engaged in are their scenarios reflecting their wish to politically destabilise what is apparently working too well, so it should be slowly undermined."

Speaker Dejan Židan, leader of the coalition Social Democrats (SD), sees Janša's statement as his big wish for him to chair the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021, but he stressed that the incumbent coalition would do it very well.

Židan disagrees with the assessments that the coalition is so paralysed that it is doing only the most urgent things, pointing out it had just recently adopted the state budget.

Luka Mesec of the Left said that his party was not involved in any talks on a potential new coalition.

06 Jan 2020, 11:28 AM

STA, 6 January 2020 - US First Lady Melania Trump remains the most influential Slovenian, according to a list compiled by the right-leaning magazine Reporter, ahead of PM Marjan Šarec and UEFA boss Aleksander Čeferin.

The Reporter Top 100 list takes into account formal influence associated with the person's post or job, as well as their informal influence.

Reporter says that there is no doubt about Melania Trump being by far the most influential Slovenia, and that she will stay so as long as she remains in the White House.

All our stories on Melania Trump are here

PM Marjan Šarec this year replaced Aleksander Čeferin in second spot, with Reporter commenting that along with the powers associated with the executive post, Šarec has also gained informal influence.

Čeferin, who the magazine says as EUFA boss has access to both the Pope and Russian President Vladimir Putin, is followed by Slovenian President Borut Pahor and parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan.

The most influential aides of Šarec, according to the magazine, are Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj in 6th spot, and Šarec's national security adviser Damir Črnčec in 8th place.

Janez Lenarčič, the European crisis management commissioner, ranks 7th.

Rounding off the top ten are Janez Janša, the leader of the opposition Democratic Party (SDS), and the man widely perceived as his nemesis, Milan Kučan, Slovenia's first president.

Silvester Šurla, the Reporter editor-in-chief, writes that Kučan, who slipped from 6th place a year ago, wields the biggest informal power of all people on the list, along with Gregor Golobič, the former long serving secretary general of Liberal Democracy (LDS), the party that ruled Slovenia for more than a decade until 2004. Golobič ranks 11th on the list.

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, "the main uncle working in the open and behind the scenes", as Šurla writes, is Janez Janša, his formal and informal power being greater than Kučan's.

"Janša has managed to politically subjugate virtually all of the right bloc, from [Marjan] Podobnik's SLS [People's Party] and [Matej] Tonin's NSi [New Slovenia] to a number of civil society organisations in the right ideological pole.

"As a former prime minister he still has a network of loyal people at state institutions and enterprises with millions of euro flowing in regularly from Orban's Hungary allowing him to manage his propaganda machinery, packed into (party) media," writes Šurla about Janša.

All our stories on Janez Janša are here

After Melania, the second highest ranked woman on the list is former PM Alenka Bratušek in 12th spot.

She is followed in 13th by Zmago Jelinčič, the leader of the National Party (SNS), whose influence increased now that his party secures majority to the Šarec minority government.

The politician whose influence declined the most is Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković, while the NBA superstar Luka Dončić climbed 50 spots to rank 50th in the biggest leap on the list since last year.

The list includes 22 new names, including Andrej Šiško, the leader of the paramilitary Štajeska guard, in 100th spot.

03 Dec 2019, 10:32 AM

STA, 2 December 2019 - Opposition Democrat (SDS) leader Janez Janša expects "an early election sooner or later" because the government coalition is running out of "sweets" to distribute among voters, "which will cause big trouble".

If fragmented, minority governments do not last long, Janša said as he commenced on political developments on the sidelines of an event marking the 30th anniversary of the DEMOS government.

"The DEMOS coalition did also not last long once it became a minority government," Janša drew a parallel with the events from three decades ago.

The current coalition will "keep the government alive for a while longer, but all they can do is harm", said Janša, whose SDS won the 2018 election but was unable to form a government because practically all parties rejected working with it.

"It's been somehow OK as long as sweets were distributed and debts accumulated for future generations to pay. But this 'rope' is getting shorter, which will cause big trouble."

Nevertheless, Janša does not expect an early election "very soon", saying voters were tired of elections and parties financially drained.

He believes the most plausible option will be finding "a temporary solution", yet sooner or later there will be an early election.

Asked whether his party could be the temporary solution, Janša said "the SDS is never a temporary solution".

Asked whether he was in talks with the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) to possibly form a new government, he said that his party had always been "willing to talk with all those who are willing to talk".

Janša moreover believes Prime Minister Marjan Šarec should have called a session of the National Security Council to discuss the latest escalation of tensions between the SOVA intelligence agency and the parliamentary oversight commission, as suggested by President Borut Pahor.

He said Šarec opting not to call the session was "a mistake", noting "this body is in charge of national security, not of the security of the prime minister". Janša also criticised the media for "not reacting" to Šarec's decision.

All our stories on Janez Janša are here

24 Oct 2019, 21:45 PM

STA, 24 October 2019 - David Tasić, a former journalist of the weekly Mladina, a publisher and one of the four political convicts in the JBTZ trial, a key event in the mosaic of Slovenian independence, has died, the newspaper Delo reported on Thursday.

Tasić was born in Kurševac, Serbia, in 1962. Between 1981 and 1989 he was a journalist and editor for Mladina.

He covered political events in Slovenia and Yugoslavia, and opened up topics that were considered taboo at the time. His feuilleton on Goli Otok, an island in Croatia where Yugoslav authorities deported political prisoners, raised a lot of dust.

On 31 May 1988, Janez Janša, a Mladina journalist at the time, and private Ivan Borštner were arrested for leaking a military document. Four days later, on 4 June 1988, Tasić and the magazine's editor-in-chief Franci Zavrl were also arrested.

The arrests led to the formation of a committee for the protection of Janša's rights, which later evolved into the Human Rights Committee, which organised mass protests against trying civilians in a military court and against the trials being held in the Serbian language, the language used in the Yugoslav People's Army.

At the end of June 1988, the Yugoslav People's Army court sentenced Borštner to four years in prison, Janša and Zavrl to 18 months, and Tasić to five months.

In mid-October 1988, the Military Supreme Court in Belgrade upheld the sentences and raised the punishment for Tasić to ten months, but none of the defendants served out their full sentences.

Apart from energising the fight for human rights, the JBTZ trial - named after the initials of the four defendants - spurred pluralisation and speeded up Slovenia's transition to independence and democracy, which is known as Slovenian Spring.

Tasić left Mladina in 1989 and went on to set up one of the first independent private publishers in Slovenia, Založba Karantanija. Since 1999, he focussed on studying phaleristics and kept a low public profile.

Taking to Twitter, Janša, who now leads the opposition Democrats (SDS), said Tasić "was a hero of the Slovenian Spring in 1988 and 2014, a good and upright man, and a fighter for freedom and light".

Zavrl told the STA that Tasić "was extremely honest and uncorrupted, and did not tolerate injustice. As a journalist he was always polite, yet also critical."

He sees Tasić's role in the JBTZ scandal as extremely important: "He was at the very centre of developments. He had the courage to take this little stone - which the

10 Oct 2019, 19:59 PM

STA, 10 October - Right-wing parties organised a rally in Ljubljana Thursday afternoon, headlined Save Slovenia. Protestors, who filled the Prešeren Square, called against corruption and expressed their dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Marjan Šarec.

Organised by the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS) and former Maribor mayor and upper chamber member Franc Kangler, the rally was also backed by the Democrats (SDS), the biggest opposition party, as well as several non-parliamentary parties and civil initiatives.

In his address to what the SLS said were 5,000 protestors, Kangler talked about unequal treatment. Millions of euro of debt have been written off for some people, while others are being punished for helping out a neighbour, he said.

He also accused the government of disrespecting the Constitutional Court and called on Šarec to resign. Slovenia needs a prime minister who shows respect for everybody, not just "first class" citizens. "Enough is enough," he said, adding "it smells like spring" in a reference to the start of Slovenian independence efforts dubbed as the Slovenian spring.

SDS head Janez Janša also addressed the protestors, saying the rally was about making a stop to double standards and the deep state. "This is the beginning of the end of anti-Slovenian comedy... After today, nothing will be as it was."

He called for debt write-offs to "first-class" citizens to be audited, that privileges for some be weeded out of the pension system, a complete block on the border for illegal crossings and lustration of corrupt judges.

He also called for de-centralisation of state institutions, more money for municipalities, abolishment of unnecessary agencies and funds, a drastic reduction in the number of regulations, order in health care, among other things.

Janša also demanded responsibility of those who stole from state-owned banks twice, laundered terrorist money in them and shamed Slovenia around the world.

The SDS head said the protestors will insist on their demands, coming together again next time in even greater numbers and not only in Ljubljana, but across the country.

Other speakers also took the floor; demanding the resignation of Environment Minister Simon Zajc, whose department is viewed as having failed to control bear and wolf populations in Slovenia, and criticising the government's ineffectiveness in shoring up illegal migrations.

At the rally, signatures were also collected under a petition listing the protestors' demands.

Before the rally, the key organisers were received by upper chamber President Alojz Kovšca, after which a mass for the homeland was given in the Franciscan Church in Prešeren Square, followed by a concert of patriotic songs.

22 Jul 2019, 11:16 AM

STA, 20 July 2019 - Democrats (SDS) head Janez Janša hailed the opposition party's election results in the past year and criticised the current government as he addressed the starting gathering of the SDS's traditional two-week summer camp near Bovec.

The largest get-together for the party's rank-and-file, held at Bovec airport, heard Janša celebrate the SDS's results in the last general, local and European elections.

"It is hard to be unhappy if you post three victories in three elections," he said, while acknowledging that only the local elections truly resulted in the party participating in decision making.

The government was formed after the general election by the losers of the election, he argued, suggesting that this was not usual "in normal democracies".

"Slovenia is not at that stage yet," he said, saying the government should be in the hands of the one who earned the most trust in the election.

Janša nonetheless believes that the party has emerged out of these developments stronger, saying it got 2000 new members, including many young people.

Meanwhile, he also touched on the situation in the European political arena. He said that while the cards are being mixed anew there, Slovenia is again showing too little ambition and is not being considered a serious player on the European map.

"This also has negative consequences when it comes to securing projects, seats in European institutions, for the country's reputation and for foreign investment," Janša said.

Moreover, he was critical of the choice of Slovenian's Ambassador to the EU Janez Lenarčič as the Slovenian candidate for EU commissioner.

He said the choice was mostly guided by the wish to put forward somebody who would not endanger anyone at home, irrespective of their prospect for benefiting Slovenia in any way in the EU.

The SDS's camp involves various activities, including several hikes, among them to Mt. Triglav on 27 July.

All our stories on the SDS are here

01 May 2019, 10:00 AM

STA, 30 April 2019 - The Ljubljana Local Court has drastically reduced the fine originally issued to the opposition Democrats (SDS) in connection to the first of two violations of the political parties act, while only issuing a reprimand as opposed to a fine in connection to the second, shows a report by the weekly Demokracija.

The SDS, which has made headlines over two contentious loans it took out in 2017, was indicted by the Court of Audit in March 2018 and found guilty by the local court earlier this year, but reports about the details have been conflicting.

The Local Court, which maintains that the largest parliamentary party broke the law in both cases, has revised upon the SDS's appeal both of its original verdicts reached in fast-track procedure.

While it originally ordered the party to pay EUR 20,000 and its head Janez Janša EUR 2,000 over a EUR 60,000 loan illegally taken out from the publisher Nova Obzorja, it later reduced the fines to EUR 4,200 and EUR 500, respectively.

The SDS told the STA that it is also not happy with the revised verdict and is challenging it at the Higher Court.

The party will on the other hand probably not appeal the revised decision of the Local Court in the segment of the case pertaining to a EUR 450,000 loan taken out with Bosnian citizen Dijana Đuđić.

The court initially issued a EUR 4,200 fine to the party and EUR 450 to Janša, but later decided to only issue a reprimand and have them cover the costs of the court procedure.

Parties can only borrow from banks and savings banks, or a limited amount from individuals. The Đuđić loan vastly exceeded this amount.

The SDS returned the first instalment, EUR 150,000, it had already received from the then 32-year-old Bosnian immediately after the Court of Audit's opinion, which the Local Court listed as a mitigating circumstance. It also noted that the loan agreement had been approved by a notary.


09 Apr 2019, 19:19 PM

April 9, 2019

Last week ended with news of a strange diplomatic move on the side of Hungarian government, whose diplomatic representative to Slovenia, Edit Szilágyiné Bátorfi, sent a verbal note of protest (an official diplomatic tool of interstate communication) to the Foreign Ministry of Slovenia, demanding it “prevent” further “politically irresponsible” “incidents” on the side of the Slovenian media. The note was prompted by the cover of Mladina magazine depicting Hungarian president Viktor Orbán in a Nazi salute, guarded by three Slovenian SDS party members, all in presumable reference to the SDS’ struggles to prevent Orbán’s Fidezs from being kicked out of the European People’s Party. “We give up Europe, but we don’t give up Orbán”, read the title.

Over the weekend, media outlets in Slovenia that are part-owned by Hungarian interested that were established and run by sympathisers of the Janez Janša and members of his SDS party, issued a series of articles, that praise the formal and informal Hungarian protests and criticise the Slovenian government and Slovene Association of Journalists (SAJ) for having double standards with regard to media freedom. As a proof of the latter, Demokracija reminds readers of its own cover, which was not that long ago a target of criticism by both the SAI and the government for “spreading hate speech”, since, according to Demokracija, “these terms are arbitrarily defined by the left political pole”.  Furthermore, Demokracija emphasised that following a “really tasteless depiction of a foreign country’s prime minister”, Mladina then “instead of normal communication, which would become a supposedly serious news media” went on to make jokes on account of the Hungarian ambassador’s protest.

Facebook - SDS - Orban and Jansa.jpg
Orban and Janša at the SDS conference, 2018, Photo: SDS Facebook

Before news of the official diplomatic note of protest broke, it was only known that the ambassador had sent an awkwardly assertive letter to the magazine, expressing “a protest against the way in which Prime Minister of Hungary was depicted”. Also in this letter the Hungarian ambassador wondered whether Mladina’s goal was to “stoke hatred among nations”, reminded the editor that such “distortions of truth” are “especially severe and unacceptable in times of election campaigns”, and concluded with an appeal to Mladina “to stop the negative campaign against Hungary”, since “you offend millions of people by doing so”. 

Mladina then responded with another, “corrected” version of the cover and an “apology” letter by the cover’s author, Tomaž Lavrič. Lavrič, the no. 1 Slovenian comic book artist who received a Medal of Merit for his Exceptional Contribution in the field of Slovenian Illustration, as presented by President Borut Pahor in 2015, along with the Prešeren Foundation Award in 2017, has collaborated regularly with Mladina as its “house caricaturist” since his first Diareja strip in 1988.

pahor medal lavric.JPG
President Borut Pahor and Tomaž Lavrič exchange decorations in 2015 Photos: http://www.up-rs.si


Much Honourable Madam Ambassador of the Republic of Hungary,

Accept my sincere and profound apology for a rude and completely untruthful depiction of your president Mr. Orbán on the cover of Mladina, which justifiably instigated your feelings of indignation and sadness.

After reading your concerned letter, I turned inside myself and realised my fault. I know that the anguish caused cannot be erased, but in my defence allow me nevertheless to explain that I myself am also just an innocent victim of objective circumstances. Let me point my finger at the real culprits of this undesirable scandal. These are:

  • First, of course, a long-term communist education system which washed my brains and numbed my sense for nation and religion.
  • Next to blame are my lackadaisical and inattentive superiors at the editorial board of Mladina, who should have better supervised me and stopped in time, as they know well that I am irresponsible and naïve in political matters, and just think that everything is allowed.
  • And last but not least to blame is our permissive judiciary system, which fails to harshly and swiftly punish such social deviations.

I am urging you, madam, not to give up on us, but to continue to kindly help us with your advice and benevolent criticism, so that we too can achieve an exemplary state of objectivity and speak in one voice, as you have managed to establish in the Hungarian media, and that one day we too can live our lives under the rule of order and peace, national purity and Christian love for all the people behind the wire fence, as commanded by your mild and righteous beloved leader V. Orbán.

With all due respect,

Tomaž Lavrič, house caricaturist


To explain the main problem behind the “outrageous” cover of Mladina, Demokracija also quoted the Hungarian government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács: “It’s an outrage and unacceptable first and foremost to the memory of the victims of that horrible period [World War 2]. Little surprise that the leftist editors at Mladina dislike the policies of the Orbán Government, but comparing the events of today’s Europe with the Nazi era trivialises what really happened in that dark time. (…) According to the author, Hungary’s firm opposition to immigration under the Orbán Government and our determination to protect European culture, which is deeply rooted in Christianity, is akin to the notorious German concept of Lebensraum.”

To understand the line of deduction here one might perhaps begin with the premise outlined by Milan Zver, MEP (depicted kneeling on the cover of Mladina) in his 2017 speech at the Pan-European Memorial for the Victims of Totalitarianism in Brussels: “Slovenia is the only state in the EU that has survived all three totalitarianisms: Fascism, Nazism and Communism. While the first two have practically disappeared, the process of the degradation of Communism has been too slow.” To paraphrase, we should not worry much about Nazism and Fascism, they are history. The Nazism of today is Communism, everything else is freedom fighting.

Furthermore, Kovács writes that “while everyone has the right to express an opinion, there’s also the matter of discretion and professionalism” and notes that Mladina’s function used to be the one of a “mouthpiece of the youth wing of the Communist Party”. Surely the Hungarian government spokesperson is aware of the fact that the lack of “discretion and professionalism” on the side of Mladina’s editors allowing for “juvenile and cynical” behaviour of its journalists has a long history which includes the imprisonment of three of its journalists (and one YPA sergeant) by the Yugoslav People’s Army in 1988, one of whom being no other than the leader of the SDS and admirer of Viktor Orbán’s policies, Janez Janša. At the time the arrests sent people onto the streets and launched Janez Janša’s career as a hero.

jbtz demonstracije.jpg
Demonstrations in support to the imprisoned four, May 8, 1989, Congress Square, Ljubljana. Third from the left in the front row (wearing glasses): Mladina’s current editor-in-chief, Grega Repovž   Photo: Mladina.si

Another article by Nova24TV that followed on Monday, takes a similar path with regard to newspeak on contemporary sources of totalitarian danger. The author finds the Hungarian diplomatic protest “reasonable” since “if you were labelled Nazi by the media in the former Eastern bloc, which also included Hungary and Slovenia, it meant you were already on your way to gulag or being covered by soil. Also in Slovenia. The reaction [to the Hungarian reaction] bares a witness that this tradition is still alive. When a leftist weekly calls you a fascist, you aren’t even allowed to express your disagreement.”

If we may interrupt this narrative with a little correction – while Hungary was part of the Eastern Bloc and one of the Soviet satellites, Slovenia was not really, and certainly not since the Tito-Stalin split of 1948. Nova24TV then continues with a speculation on possible reasons behind the “panic on the left”, caused by the Hungarian diplomatic note of protest: “it is probably a combination of pre-election time, when the left is hoping for new voters with the use of an old policy of attacking external and internal enemies (fascists and such) and fear, because Orbán in fact exposes their modes of handling and controlling the media.”

Following this, Nova24TV published another article in full support of Generation Identity, a far-right movement associated with the recent “lone wolf” terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, titled “The Truth is our Weapon Against the Mainstream Media Lies”.

25 Mar 2019, 12:50 PM

STA, 22 March 2019 - Janez Janša has announced that his Democratic Party (SDS) will ask the Constitutional Court to review the supplementary budget for the year arguing that it poses a major risk for Slovenia.

Making the announcement via his Twitter profile, Janša said the revised 2019 budget is "evidently unconstitutional" and "structurally the worst since 2009 and 2010".

"It dangerously exposes Slovenia to great risk at a time of an economic downturn. We will demand a constitutional review," Janša tweeted, without disclosing any further details.

The revised budget, passed by the lower chamber in a revote on Wednesday following the upper chamber's veto, projects 6.2% higher revenue than in the original budget, at EUR 10.35bn, and 4.8% higher expenditure, at EUR 10.16bn. The surplus is projected to stand at EUR 193.6m.

The Fiscal Council issued a negative opinion on the budget due to excessive expenditure and a lack of reform measures. The general government expenditure for the year is budgeted EUR 1.13bn above last year's, while the fiscal rule law effectively caps the increase at EUR 870m.

Responding to Janša's tweet, Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj repeated his position that the budget was optimal given the circumstances, noting that the budget surplus was quite high at 0.6% of GDP.

He said that there was no need to beat the drum, something that he said was a view voiced by the Fiscal Council's chair Davorin Kračun.

"After the long years in which we generated a deficit of 24 billion euro, we have a budget surplus this year. We are also actively reducing public debt, and we are even the most successful country in the eurozone in doing so," the minister said.

He conceded that Slovenia had a slight structural deficit, which he said the government planned to tackle with structural measures over the next three years.

"If you have a surplus, if you are reducing debt and implementing structural measures and reforms, why would you need to beat the drum," Beroncelj wondered.

"Things are perfectly under control," said Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, commenting from Brussels, arguing that Janša was trying "to create political turmoil again", which he said made no sense.

A constitutional review as proposed by Janša may be initialled by the National Assembly or a third of deputies, the National Council or the government, and depending on the substance matter also by the human rights ombudsman, the information commissioner, the central bank and the Court of Audit.

Other qualified petitioners are the state prosecutor general, the representative body of a local community or a representative association of local communities or a representative trade union.

The petitioners cannot ask for a review of regulations or general acts that they have adopted themselves.

If the SDS was to file the request as a group of one third of deputies, it would need the support of at least one more opposition party, considering the party has 25 seats in the 90-member assembly.

Apart from the SDS, New Slovenia (NSi) also voted against the supplementary budget, while the National Party voted in favour.

In the parliamentary debate on the budget, the SDS noted that the government failed to heed the warnings by the Fiscal Council that expenditure was excessive, and that the document did not foresee reforms.

Commenting on the proposal for a constitutional review, the NSi said that it had already warned of the supplementary budget's unconstitutionality in parliament.

The party tweeted that it would discuss potential measures to deal with the unconstitutional situation with legal experts next week and decide on further steps.

SNS leader Zmago Jelinčič told the STA the party would not supply its signatures in support of a constitutional review of the budget.

"This is Janša's solo campaign, we haven't discussed that," said Jelinčič, adding that it was Janša's attempt to topple the government, which he said was not good.

According to constitutional jurist Lojze Ude, it is not very likely that the Constitutional Court would find the supplementary budget in breach of the constitution.

He does not think the budget is violating the fiscal rule, enshrined in Article 148 of the constitution, which provides that general government revenue and expenditure must be balanced over the medium term.

Jurist Matej Avbelj of the European Faculty of Law disagrees with the view. He told the Odmevi news show on TV Slovenija last night that the supplementary budget contravened the fiscal rule and thus the constitution.

He said that the general government expenditure exceeded the scope defined by the fiscal rule, while it also constituted a violation of Slovenia's commitments under the EU fiscal compact.

Fiscal Council chair Kračun told Odmevi that the supplementary budget did not comply with the article of the fiscal rule law which prescribed the formula for securing a mid-term fiscal balance, but that it was impossible to assume based on one year alone whether the government was in breach of the constitution.

He did say though that the risk of a breach of the constitutional provision was increasing. Ude told the STA today that he agreed with Kračun.

You can keep up with Slovenian politics and find all our related stories here

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