March 15, 2018
Miro Cerar resigns over railway
Some people have a tendency to confuse Slovakia and Slovenia, and today events conspired to produce nearly identical headlines about both countries. Slovenia's PM resigned yesterday, on the same day as Slovakia's PM. Just don't get their names and reasons for resignation mixed up.
Slovenia's PM is Miro Cerar, of the left-liberal Modern Centre Party (SMC - originally "Party of Miro Cerar"). He's near the end of his term as elections are scheduled no later than July this year. Cerar's resignation is likely to lead to earlier elections, in May, but there are no indications of this yet. The government will stay as caretaker until a new government is appointed. The reason for Cerar's resignation is that the Slovenian supreme court just voided the result of a referendum held last September on the law governing the construction of second railway track of 27km between the country's only seaport at Koper, and the city of Divaca. Depending on who you ask, the second railway track is necessary for the economic development of Slovenia, or a pet project of Cerar and his cronies.
Given the timing, whether Cerar had stayed in office or not it's quite likely that the Koper railway would have been an election issue. Cerar's position is weak. According to election polls support for the SMC has gradually dropped from over 34% at the last election in 2014 to under 6% recently. Leading parties are the right-liberal SDS and recently the List Marjan Sarec, built around the second-round challenger to president Borut Pahor at the last presidential election. The Social Democrats are also part of what looks like a three-way race. Cerar had just come out of a party congress this past week-end which re-elected him as leader unanimously. He boasts with an economic recovery during his three-and-a-half-year mandate.