April 13. 2024. 5:19

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Cross-party bid mounted to simplify Slovenian government appointment

A proposal to amend the Constitution to transfer the power to appoint government ministers from parliament to the head of state was tabled by the largest two parties of the ruling coalition and one of two opposition parties on Tuesday.

Under the proposal, unveiled on Tuesday, the process would still have two stages but the president’s role in ministerial appointments would be formal.

They would not be able to refuse to appoint the nominees except for very compelling reasons, said Janez Cigler Kralj, deputy group leader of the opposition party New Slovenia.

Slovenia currently has a two-stage process where the prime minister is appointed by the National Assembly and then members of the cabinet are vetted and appointed in a second parliamentary vote.

Such a procedure would end a situation where the country has two prime ministers, a prime minister-elect who does not have a cabinet yet and an outgoing prime minister whose cabinet is relegated to a caretaker role.

“It would streamline the process and we’d always have a prime minister with a cabinet with full powers,” Cigler Kralj said.

The three parties do not have the two-thirds majority required to change the Constitution and it remains uncertain whether they have the support of the other two parties.

The Left, a junior partner in the coalition, objects to giving any prime minister excessive discretion in naming and appointing ministers.

The Democrats, the main opposition party, argue that the amendments would create a “quasi-presidential system” and they are against the idea of scrapping the option of a no-confidence motion against a minister.

The party does however find it sensible to adopt a system where the National Assembly confirms the prime minister and his cabinet in one go by an absolute majority.

(Sebastijan R. Maček | sta.si)