Members of the new parliament will convene today in a session called by the President of the Republic. The first orded of business will be to elect the Commission for public office and elections, which oversees the nominations and formally vets all candidates for parliamentary positions. After the Commision is elected, terms of MPs will be confirmed by which the new parliament will be fully empowered to perform its duties. But it will become fully operational only after its president is elected.
According to the constitution the President of the Parliament is second only to the President of the Republic. He or she can act with presidential authority when the President is unable to be it because he is abroad, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to perform his duties. Being president of the parliament is no small matter.
So it did come as a bit of a surprise when Zares, the second largest coalition party did not nominate its president Gregor Golobič for the post, but chose Pavel Gantar, a long-serving MP to do the job. While Gantar does have the benefit of in-depth knowledge of parliamentary twists and turns, he seems to lack charisma which I imagine can be very helpful when re-establishing the legislative branch as an equal partner in the system of checks and balances. In case you forgot, under Janša’s rule, the balance was tilted heavily in favour of the executive branch, reducing the parliament to rubber-stamp duties. But since outgping President of the Parlimanet France Cukjat dropped the bar pretty low in the charisma departement, Gantar should do OK.
I still thing, however, that having Gregor Golobič as parliamentary chief would provide for some agonisingly beautiful Kodak moments, when the Blut-und-Boden approach of the right-wing parties would clash with his proverbial wit and – some would say – cynicysm.
In any case, Pavel Gantar will be flanked by three vice-presidents, two of which are already known: Vasja Klavora of DeSUS, who served as vice-president in the last term as well and Miran Potrč of Pahor’s Social Democrats. Incidently, Klavora is also the oldest member of the Parliament and will preside over the session until President of the Parliament is elected. Choosing him as vice-president is a very strong signal that DeSUS will be a member of Pahor’s coalition. Giving DeSUS a vice-presidential spot also puts this party ahead of LDS in terms of political influence, which is what DeSUS president Karl Erjavec instist upon – namely that a party’s political power in the coalition must reflect its election result.
The second vice-president will be Miran Potrč of Social Democrats, a Slovene political legend in his own right. He was the president of the last socialist Slovene parliament (The Assembly, from 1988 to 1990) and in that capacity he overwas and helped bring about constitutional changes which provided legal grounds for holding the first democratic elections. Potrč is an old parliamentarian cat and know rules and procedures inside out.
And finally, Borut Pahor, the new PM-apparent said the other day that he will present his cabinet by Sunday. This would enable him to hold a vote on his government almost immediately after he will (assuming that he will) get the mandate to form the government. He will be given that mandate by the parliament, but he will be nominated for the post of PM by the President of the republic.
And speaking of The Prez – he will address the parliament today. It wil be interesting to se what he has to say. There are thing on his mind, but I’d venture to say that he will call for a more independent parliament, to finally enact all rulings of the Constitutional court (including the Erased) and some pointers for the future as he sees it.