Slovenia: Opposition demands the Interior Minister’s dismissal

Slovenia: Opposition demands the Interior Minister’s dismissal

The four left-leaning opposition parties filed an ouster motion against Interior Minister Aleš Hojs on Tuesday in what is the second such motion against a minister in this government less than three months since the cabinet was sworn in.

The move comes after the ministry overrode the decision by the Maribor administrative unit to ban a concert by Croatian singer Marko Perković Thompson, who is accused of glorifying the Ustasha regime.

The motion, drafted by the Social Democrats (SD), has been expanded with additional points and signed by the MPs of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), the Left and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB).

Together, the four parties have 39 votes in the 90-member legislature, seven short of the 46 needed for the ouster motion to succeed.

The Left was most bothered by the “procedures against peaceful protesters and procedures to mobilise the military to the border” and Hojs’s refusal for Slovenia to accept migrants as part of the EU relocation scheme.

Moreover, as STA reported, the Left is critical of Hojs’s tweets, with which “he suggested publicly to the police on how to act in certain matters and in what way to ‘punish’ the acts of certain individuals”.

The LMŠ on the other hand was most critical of the dismissal of the National Bureau of Investigation head and other staffing changes made by the Interior Ministry. But these are merely end notes to the 19-page motion focusing on the controversial concert decision.

In his response after the SD announced the motion yesterday, Hojs called it an ideological smear campaign, noting that he had condemned a number of times the Ustasha movement, Fascism, Nazism and Communism.

He said that he was not aware of the decree that overrode the concert ban and that the decision was made based on the ruling of the Administrative Court that sided with Thompson when he challenged the ban issued to a concert request made in 2017.

Hojs, who will not be commenting the motion today, also indicated that a ban would contravene the court’s ruling. However, the motion claims that the administrative unit followed the ruling closely and specified the reasons for the ban in detail.

The Administrative Court clearly stated that the government had the right to ban the concert given valid grounds and concrete reasoning of its decision, the motion says.

In its decision to override the ban, the ministry said that the mere possibility of criminal acts of glorification of a Fascist ideology is not grounds enough to ban the concert and encroach on the free business initiative of the organiser.

“The Interior Ministry intentionally overlooked the fact that Ustasha regime glorification, incitement of intolerance, hatred and violence are a regular part of the repertoire, iconography, scenography and action” at Thompson’s events, the motion says.

This was documented in detail by the administrative unit, which included data from the Interpol and proof of similar bans on Thompson’s concerts in Austria, Germany and Switzerland due to his reputation of a Fascism apologist and provocateur, the opposition says.

Giving a statement for the press today, SD MP Matjaž Nemec said the decision to override the ban had been political and described Thompson as a political icon of the Ustasha movement, “the Croatian version of Nazism”.

“Is it really acceptable that 75 years after WWII and decades of suffering on both sides, a Slovenian minister allows incitement of extremism in Slovenia, even foreign extremism,” said Nemec.

Other parties repeated their main points of criticism apart from the concert ban, with SAB MP Andrej Rajh also raising one that is not included in the motion, saying the minister “kept quiet when the varda surrounded a police station”, referring to an incident in which dozens of members of a militia showed up at the Slovenjska Bistrica police station to protest police procedure.

The motion comes only two days before the National Assembly is scheduled to vote on an ouster motion against Economic Development and Technology Minister Zdravko Počivalšek./ibna