Slovenia: President Pahor calls for party leaders’ meeting

Slovenia: President Pahor calls for party leaders’ meeting

Slovenian President Borut Pahor’s initiative for a meeting with party leaders hit a snag early on as two parliamentary parties, Marijan Šarec List (LMŠ) and Left, refused to respond to the invitation.

The purpose of the meeting is to reach consensus on the need for the country to focus on the epidemic, a post-pandemic recovery and the country’s EU presidency. Despite the two parties’ refusal, Pahor still holds high expectations for the meeting.

He extended the invitation to the presidents of all parliamentary parties on Monday, while on Tuesday he launched a series of meetings with them to discuss preparations for the joint meeting.

Pahor believes his call comes at the right moment after first pitching the idea last year. He said dialogue was particularly important when party leaders had opposing views. “In such circumstances, dialogue takes on a special weight and meaning.”

The president believes the current widening political differences have a negative impact on overcoming the health crisis.

As he said, it is pivotal that party leaders jointly review the strategic guidelines for a post-crisis recovery and agree on strategic topics for Slovenia’s EU presidency.

According to the press release, Pahor had not consulted any party leader before sending out the invitation, as alleged by opposition party Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) in its response.

Meanwhile, DeSUS leader Karl Erjavec thanked Pahor for the invitation. He also briefed President on a vote of a no-confidence in the government to be proposed in the coming weeks.

Erjavec thinks it would be better to hold the planned meeting after the vote, which Pahor agreed with.

Pahor’s press office announced that both stances are legitimate, stressing however that “rejecting dialogue in principle could lead to exclusion, which appears to favour no one.”

Nevertheless, Pahor will strive for the meeting to contribute to Slovenian politics reaching a greater degree of consensus on key challenges.

He believes this should lead to a more tolerant and inclusive public atmosphere, which he regards as important amid a health crisis and in its aftermath.

Prime Minister Janez Janša sees Pahor’s invitation as well-intended and neutral, while Pahor has already met opposition National Party (SNS) head Zmago Jelinčič.

The coalition New Slovenia (NSi) also welcomed the initiative, with leader Matej Tonin saying all parties should strive for a common approach to the epidemic, for the country’s exit strategy and for tolerance. The only way to reach these goals is through dialogue. /ibna