Vasko Simoniti remains the Minister of Culture, as he successfully passed the interpellation in the National Assembly, submitted by the opposition LMŠ, SD, Levica and SAB parties. Of the 83 MPs present, 43 voted in favour of the interpellation, while 40 voted against it. The interpellation would have been successful if at least 46 MPs supported it. “The vote on the interpellation showed that the opposition still does not have enough votes to overthrow the government. Our MPs who voted in favour of the interpellation, despite the coalition agreement, will have to decide whether they still see themselves as members of the SMC party or not. You cannot have your cake and eat it, too,” SMC president Zdravko Počivalšek commented on the fact that three SMC deputies, namely, Igor Zorčič, Janja Sluga and Branislav Rajić, voted in favour of the interpellation.
The interpellation that was filed by the opposition failed, as Minister Vasko Simoniti successfully passed it. Of the 83 MPs present, 43 voted in favour of the interpellation, while 40 voted against it. In order for the interpellation to be successful, the opposition parties LMŠ, SD, Levica and SAB should have received at least three more votes.
The government’s third consecutive interpellation, this time of Minister Simoniti (43 for and 40 against), was also unsuccessful. The Minister has already received lots of congratulations for passing the interpellation, as well as wishes for him to continue with his good work. “Congratulations to the Minister, and I wish you more successful work in the future, in the direction of development and growth of culture. P.S.: To the left-wing opposition – apparently, the third time is not always the charm,” MP Jure Ferjan wrote.
“Vasko Simoniti, the Minister of Culture who is destroying culture and cultural workers, has not fallen. 46 votes would have been needed for that. Nevertheless, the results are encouraging, three more votes on our side than on the government’s side. The end is not far off now,” the coordinator of the Levica party, Luka Mesec, is convinced, who is apparently eager to continue filing interpellations in the future as well. During the current government’s term, three interpellations were filed last year and three this year. Minister of the Economy Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Janez Cigler Kralj, and Minister of Education, Science and Sport Simona Kustec all passed their interpellation successfully, while the National Assembly did not vote on the interpellation of former Minister of Agriculture Aleksandra Pivec in the end, as she had previously resigned by herself.
After a two-day debate, it became clear that Minister Simoniti has enough support, despite the intentions of some coalition MPs to not support him. During the 18-hour debate, which was held in the National Assembly over the course of two days, it was not completely clear, at least from the opinions of the MPs, where the scales would tilt. The results of the vote showed that three SMC deputies (Igor Zorčič, Janja Sluga and Branislav Rajić), as well as one DeSUS deputy (Jurij Lep) voted in favour of the interpellation. Robert Polnar voted against the interpellation, while Franc Jurša, Ivan Hršak and Branko Simonovič abstained from the vote.
The coalition rejected the allegations and highlighted that the budget for culture is the highest to date
At the session, the coalition MPs repeatedly pointed out that Minister Simoniti has managed to negotiate the highest budget for culture in the history of independent Slovenia. They rejected the opposition’s allegations of violating the freedom of the media and pressuring the journalists, and in the case of taking away rapper Zlatko’s status as a self-employed cultural worker, they emphasised that this was a normal administrative procedure, which, according to the court’s ruling, is being reconsidered at the Ministry. And in the case of non-governmental organisations at Metelkova, they pointed out that what is happening is not, in fact, an eviction. They also rejected the allegations that Simoniti was not willing to engage in dialogue. The Minister himself also rejected all the allegations of his proponents but also wrote a response to the interpellation on 130 pages.