Four Slovenian opposition parties filed an impeachment motion on Friday against embattled conservative Prime Minister Janez Jansa, partially prompted by his alleged failings in handling the coronavirus crisis.
Previous opposition attempts to bring a no-confidence motion against Jansa’s government failed earlier this year, but his administration has continued to be dogged by various controversies and international criticism.
In addition, the country has been hit with a vicious third wave of the pandemic which has sent infections and death rates spiralling.
In the impeachment motion targeting Jansa personally, the four opposition parties accuse him of failing in his legal duties for not taking up an opportunity to acquire extra vaccine doses and thereby denying citizens their rightful health services.
The allegation relates to a period in December when Jansa temporarily took on the post of health minister after the previous incumbent resigned.
The impeachment motion also says Jansa has violated the constitution by attacking press freedom — including preventing funding to the national news agency STA — and by putting pressure on the country’s prosecutors.
Jansa’s centre-right coalition currently controls 45 seats in the 90-seat parliament, with several MPs having left the government camp in recent months.
Jansa called the impeachment attempt a “pathetic move by the privileged aimed at destabilising the country.”
The latest crisis for the government comes hot on the heels of criticism from Brussels and ahead of Slovenia taking up the EU’s rotating presidency later this year.
On Thursday, Slovenia joined Austria and the Czech Republic in refusing to help five struggling fellow EU members in the allocation of an extra 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Last week, Jansa abruptly cut short a grilling on media freedom by lawmakers, accusing them of “censorship” for refusing to play a video he had prepared.
The opposition accuses Jansa — an admirer of former US President Donald Trump — of wanting to emulate his political ally and counterpart, Hungary’s Viktor Orban.
The impeachment motion has to be discussed by parliament within 60 days and needs the support of 46 deputies to pass.
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