Slovene interior minister survives no-confidence vote

Dragutin Mate, photo:

A no-confidence motion against Slovenia's interior minister was rebuffed last week after a marathon session that ended in the early morning hours. The no-confidence vote came from two leftwing parties in parliament: the Liberal Democrats (LDS) and its offshoot, Zares. Slovenia's government has suffered turmoil over the past year.

In the ensuing partisan dispute, Dragutin Mate, was accused of a number of things, including »politicising« the police, and poor oversight over private security firms. The latter was an emotional subject in Slovenia after four people died in two incidents in front of local night clubs.

Mate was quick to reject the accusations, in particular the idea that the police were turning political.

"I disagree with the accusations that the police are being politicised. There was not a single appointment in police ranks where the appointees did not already have a career within the police force".

The motion against the interior minister dragged into the early hours of Wednesday, after a marathon 15-hour session. Leftwing parliamentarians took the opportunity to make a number of criticisms, including the idea that Mate breached the law in the case of a Roma family that was recently relocated and temporarily put under surveillance.

An even more potentially problematic subject was the register of voters living abroad. During the recent presidential elections in Slovenia, there were a number of complications with it. These complications could have led to serious difficulties if the election last year had been close or if the results were contested. In the end, the motion to oust the minister picked up little support. In the final tally, 26 members voted in favor while 42 were against. Members of the ruling coaltion dismissed the motion, saying that the allegations involved unimportant matters and that the minister had successfully defended himself against them. Dragutin Mate, shortly after the vote:

"It took a long time. I think we all took advantage of the available time to explain and convince parliamentarians that my work was done legally, and that I follow the laws of our constitution, and that I'm trying to act in the best interests of the citizens of the Republic of Slovenia".

Mate, however, said he would look over the minutes of the session and try to take some statements into consideration.