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Prime Minister Janez Janša: Today we are not dealing with a constructive vote of no confidence, but with a destructive farce

Prime Minister Janez Janša today attended the 61st extraordinary session of the National Assembly, at which deputies are deliberating over the election of a new prime minister. At the session, Janša presented an overview of the work of the Government to date.

A transcription of an unauthorised tape recording is published below.

JANEZ JANŠA: Esteemed Speaker of the National Assembly, thank you for giving me the floor. Honoured members of our highest assembly,

That which we have today, or what you have today on the agenda is not a constructive vote of no confidence, since the constitution requires at least 46 votes for that instrument. The Slovenian Constitution provides this instrument in order to prevent the emergence of political instability and to ensure that if a Government loses its majority, this means that the opposition has the majority and becomes the new governing coalition, receives enough votes and replaces the Government, and work and life go on.

You have submitted this instrument with ten signatures, and therefore this is not a constructive vote of no confidence, but a destructive farce. The document that you have submitted, as well as what has been said by the applicant and the candidate for the head of the Government, contains perhaps 5% of what would allegedly be a programme, and 25% nothing but criticism, wishful thinking and a series of lies and manipulations. But even these percentages of what they would do if they had control of the Government sound pretty comical. At the beginning of the term of office, despite the fact that you did not win the elections, you were in control of the Government for a year and a half. There were quite a few more of you in that coalition, but nothing came of it. But now all of a sudden something will? From where? I of course do not need to list here everything that our Government has accomplished in a significantly shorter period of time and under the exceptionally difficult conditions of the epidemic. Slovenia’s citizens know this and feel it in their wallets. Workers, pensioners, students, families, nobody has been forgotten during this time. We have saved thousands of jobs. You have mostly voted against everything in the eight coronavirus relief packages, or at least failed to support them, while this Government in a single year has adopted and implemented substantially more measures for Slovenian citizens than you did in a year and a half at the beginning of this parliamentary term.

If you put all eight of the coronavirus relief packages together and compare them with the previous ten years, those eight packages contain significantly more measures, significantly more actual things that make people’s lives better, put more money in their pockets, and give them better prospects for the future, than you adopted in the previous ten years. And what you wrote, although there has been less talk of this today, contains a fairly major insult to the Slovenian healthcare system with regard to the victims of Covid, or because of it.

Here is an international comparison that shows out of how many people who were infected with Covid, what percentage of them, although each one is too many, but this comparison shows the percentage of those infected with Covid who actually died.

Irrespective of all the problems in Slovenian healthcare, which did not arise overnight, the percentage of deaths due to Covid compared with the number of Covid infections in Slovenia is significantly better than in some of the core countries of the European Union. It is there on the internet, and you can see it for yourselves. While it is true that Slovenia has a large number of people infected in the second wave, we also had a large number of excess deaths compared with the previous year, and we have to ask why this is so. The reason is that Slovenia has the eighth oldest population in the world.

And Covid takes its toll primarily amongst the elderly. And we have to ask what we did to improve the demographics in the 30 years of Slovenia’s independence. That is the first reason.

The second reason is that we have too few nursing homes in Slovenia, and that in many of them, and here unfortunately the death toll has been the highest, in many of them the standards are low. You are creating red zones in the nursing home in Hrastnik and many others, where even in normal conditions the people there do not have enough room. But let’s take a look at some data for the past ten years and see what we invested in. In the past ten years through 2019, the Slovenian Democratic Party was in the Government for one year, while the Social Democrats were in power for nine years, and during that time Viktor Karl Erjavec was a Government minister for nine years.

During that time, investments in hospitals, primary and secondary schools, training institutions, college and secondary school dormitories and colleges in those ten years amounted to 713 million euros. In the same period, for instance, we paid a billion euros out of our own pocket for public broadcasting services, more than all of the above combined. As far as I’m concerned, we can pay two billion euros for public broadcasting, but only when we can spend ten billion on all of those other needs, and not when we can spend less. This was your policy for ten years, and that is why people have died, that is why ten thousand people are waiting for beds at nursing homes.

To continue, if we are speaking only about nursing homes and college dormitories, investments in nursing homes, that is, construction, adaptation and renovations, amounted to 25 million euros in ten years. College dormitories, new construction, investment maintenance 31 million euros. A total of 37 million euros just for the non-governmental organisations whose offices are located at Metelkova 6. Those were your priorities. People died because of this. Can you list one achievement on a national level of any single non-governmental organisation located at Metelkova 6? Does anybody know? Yes, spreading the virus throughout the country last year, plus of course defacing the facades of the ministries, and death threats, those were the achievements. With the eighth oldest population in the world, in the last ten years we have invested 367 million in the parental supplement, financial assistance for childbirth, the large family supplement, and the childcare supplement.

In the same ten-year period, non-governmental organisations received 706 million, more than twice as much. And then you have to fight an epidemic is such conditions. So you have to take a look at the numbers.

And that’s what I was missing during Mr Golubović’s address, who by the way gave a wonderful account of his and his party’s conduct; there were no numbers. The speech of the candidate for the head of the Government contained no numbers. Not one. A few clichés, something to the effect that we will nevertheless be able to play football, we will kick the ball and it will roll because it is round. That was the programme, nothing specific. And a lot of talk about how the Government is violating human rights, creating a second republic and so on.

Look, we are not creating a second republic, we are defending the first republic, since you are destroying it with the policies expressed in the numbers that we presented earlier. And since we are speaking of democracy, this is the index of democracy in Slovenia during the terms of the individual governments; every time I led the Government we ranked higher than when the candidates from your parties led it.

And now we have before us a nomination for the head of the Government on behalf of the leader of a party who received the fewest votes in the last elections of any party leader in this coalition of five parties. He ran for minister in the 2018 elections, for minister, I don’t know, 13 years in a row. He received 380 votes in the Tržič electoral district, well, less than 400. Our colleague Jure Ferjan, who is sitting here, who ran as a first-time candidate, and is the youngest deputy to the National Assembly, received five times more votes, but, probably because he is a newcomer, and perhaps because he did not receive the highest number of votes in the parliamentary group, the parliamentary group is debating whether he should be nominated as the chair or deputy chair of a committee. Someone who received five times fewer votes and less trust of the electorate will head the Government. And that Government will have amazing support and democracy will flourish. And our relations with the United States will suddenly improve. The Government will be led by someone who was a minister for thirteen years and in ten years travelled to Moscow thirteen times, but never to Washington. It’s going to be great. Truly.

I suggest that we get a little more serious. Ask yourself how many new jobs will be created because of today’s session – see, not one. Ask yourself how many more people will be vaccinated against Covid because of today’s session – not one. Ask yourself how through today’s session – which is being accompanied outside on the square, by more illegal protests – you will help stop the epidemic – you will not; on the contrary, you will spread it further. Let us ask ourselves how much wages and pensions will rise as a result of today’s session – zero. The Government session is delayed today because of this session, since we are now holding two regular sessions every week. My colleagues in the Government are hard at work, they are not burdening themselves with this farce, but nevertheless there is a holdup here.

Therefore, my dear colleagues from the KUL bloc, you are wasting the taxpayers’ time and money, and I have to say that this, unfortunately, is the only thing you are masters at, as has been demonstrated many times.

In order to avoid any misunderstandings, we shall say it once again. In the last ten years, you and your quasi-governmental army from Metelkova and Rog wasted more money than the total amount spent on nursing homes and dormitories. And the biggest achievement from these hundreds of millions of euros is yelling in the streets, defacing the facades of the Ministry of Culture and death threats, which are the highest form of hate speech. Death threats are the highest form of hate speech; none of you have condemned this, and some of you are even repeating them from the parliamentary bench.

So much for the results. Look, as far as I’m concerned, as far as the Slovenian Democratic Party is concerned, you can vote in favour of the no-confidence motion. The Slovenian Democratic Party is better prepared for elections than ever before.

And as far as the epidemic is concerned, I believe that nothing major will change. Unlike a year ago, the warehouses are full. The masks that were supposed to be useless are on your faces – thank you for that. You clearly do not believe what Mr Golubović said. The Government is functional, while the opposition cannot be more of a nuisance in the election campaign than it is now. But we will count the votes again, no problem. I doubt that this will improve the situation.

Therefore, the Slovenian Democratic Party is persisting in its efforts; we are aware of our obligations towards our coalition partners. And I suggest that those who are spending their precious time here today should also take a look at themselves. Tomorrow is a new day. Next week, as far as I know, a talk is planned with the President of Slovenia. He has invited all parliamentary parties to the table so that, regardless of the differences between us, we cooperate on certain issues where these differences should not exist, since they concern our common interest. I believe that there is still time for those who have refused this well-intentioned invitation to change their minds. As far as the Government is concerned, it will always be open to cooperation for the common good. Thank you.