Slovenia: PM Accused of Corruption
Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Janša faces heavy pressure to resign after the country’s Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (CPC) accused him of failing to declare over US$ 266,000 in private assets.
In response to the report’s findings and Janša’s refusal to resign, Civic List, a junior partner in Slovenia’s ruling coalition, walked out of the government on Wednesday, leaving Janša and his party, the SDS, atop a minority government. Civic List party chief Gregor Virant told reporters that the move was “the first step in resolving the crisis” precipitated by the corruption watchdog’s findings, Al Jazeera reported Wednesday.
The government’s two Civic List ministers resigned from the government on Thursday, the day after their party’s walkout, according to a Civic List spokesperson. Parliament speaker Gregor Virant has also resigned from his position, and his resignation will be accepted on Tuesday, Civic List said.
The Prime Minister must “resign or call for a vote of confidence to quickly resolve what is shaping up to become a serious political crisis with dire economic consequences,” Civic List told OCCRP on Thursday.
Janša denies the CPC’s allegations, and made it clear he “has no intentions” of stepping down, according to Civic List.
The report by the CPC also implicated Zoran Janković, the main opposition leader and mayor of Ljubljana. Janković allegedly failed to declare the origins of over $3 million of his assets.
The corruption scandal has added fuel to protests over Slovenia’s austerity measures, which cut public sector salaries twice in the past two years. Close to 100,000 public sector employees went on strike on Wednesday over proposed salary reductions, Al Jazeera reported; those strikes closed schools and universities and left hospitals operating at reduced capacity.
The Eurozone crisis has hit hard in Slovenia, where GDP fell by 0.17% and GDP per capita by 0.34% in 2011, leading to a loss of over $2.6 billion, according to World Bank estimates.
The Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland highlighted Slovenia’s precarious situation during a speech to the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly on Tuesday, in which he warned that the Slovenian government “is at risk of collapse following the publication of the Anti-Corruption Commission's report.”