With Gregor Virant‘s Citizens’ List (DL) ting in favour of joining the coalition of Alenka Bratušek earlier tonight, the PM-designate is expected to present to the parliament a full list of ministerial nominees tomorrow. This brings Slovenia a step closer to having a fully operative government which is to replace the administration of Janez Janša. Thus the coalition agreement between PS, SD, DL and DeSUS was signed shortly before midnight tonight. It gives Bratušek a majority of votes which can, if need be, excpanded to 55 out of 90 votes, including the three independent MPs and two MPs for Italian and Hungarian minority.
In a curious twist of fate, the Vatican curia needed less time to elect the new Pontifex Maximus (that be Francis I., in case you were just unfrozen cryogenically) than the new Sovenian coalition needed to hammer out a deal. In fact, “habemus papam” beat the “habemus congregatio” by a few hours. But I guess it is easier to pick the supreme minister than a minister in a Slovenian government.
We’ll leave the list of nominees for some other day (maybe tomorrow) but even now it is perfectly obvious that the real winners is Karl Erjavec, who is poised to continue as foreign miniser. A few other people are expected to continue in their current positions, notably minister of health Tomaž Gantar (DeSUS) and minister for justice Senko Pličanič (DL).
Speaking of DL, there seems to have been hell to pay tonight at DL HQ, since Janez Šušteršič quit vice-chairmanship of the party. He said he will continue as party member, but the rift between his faction and that of Gergor Virant seems insurmountable. Although it must be said that the move to enter the coalition got a pretty solid backing tonight at DL. However, it appears that a party schism is forming within the DL and that could present PM Bratušek with more of a problem than she may anticipate this early in the game.
At any rate, the coalition agreement is signed and if there are no last-minute surprises Slovenia could have a new government within a week’s time. It will move away from purely austerity and across-the-board-cuts policies into a combination of spending cuts and growth stimulation with special emphasis on infrastructure projects. That and the banking sector. Plus a few other points of interest. And a possible increase of value added tax.
But we’ll deal with these issues in the coming days. Until the new cabinet is sworn in, the old one is still fully in charge, making last-minute appointments left and right.