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Response of the Office to the proposal on the appointment of the governor of the Bank of Slovenia communicated to the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia on 16 May 2007 by the Social Democratic Party (SDS), the Slovene People's Party (SLS) and the New Slovenia Party (NSi)

Ljubljana, 05/18/2007  |  press release


Herewith we release the letter communicated today by the Office of the President of the Republic of Slovenia to the President of the National Assembly in connection with the proposal in which leaders of the political groups SDS, SLS and NSi suggest that the National Assembly decide on or adopt a proposal inviting President Drnovšek to state or submit his opinion relating to the appointment of the governor of the Bank of Slovenia.

"On Wednesday, i.e. on 16 May 2007, the Social Democratic Party (SDS), the Slovenian People's Party (SLS) and the New Slovenia Party (NSi) submitted a proposal to you that the National Assembly should decide on or adopt the proposal inviting the President of the Republic to state or communicate his opinion relating to the appointment of the governor of the Bank of Slovenia. In spite of the fact that we have learned of this proposal from the media, we herewith communicate to you a comprehensive review of all previous activities of the President of the Republic that relate to the appointment of a governor. From this it will be clear that President Drnovšek at no time gave up his search for an appropriate candidate, all procedures being in full compliance with the relevant legislation, and that the public was being continuously informed of all developments.

Following the lack of sufficient support by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia for the previous governor, Mr Mitja Gaspari, and the vice-governor, Mr Andrej Rant, President Janez Drnovšek continued his search for appropriate candidates for the governor's post. The criteria remained the same: good knowledge of this area, high professional competence and political neutrality. The candidacy was offered to Dr Jože Mencinger, as the third candidate, who then consented to candidacy. Following consultations with the coalition leader, Mr Janez Janša, who opposed this candidacy, the President decided not to propose Dr Mencinger to the National Assembly. The public was informed accordingly.

The next person invited by President Drnovšek to be a candidate was Dr Velimir Bole. After due consideration, Dr Bole refused candidacy and the public was informed accordingly. President Drnovšek continued his search for an appropriate candidate and had a talk with Dr Mojmir Mrak. After a few days of consideration, Dr Mrak also refused candidacy and explained his reasons for refusal in a press release on Wednesday, 16 May 2007.

Wishing that the Bank of Slovenia have a new governor as soon as possible, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Janez Drnovšek, continued his quest for a suitable candidate.

In the proposal addressed to you by the leaders of the SDS, SLS and NSi there is a repeated reproach implying that President Drnovšek did not propose the other candidate who had applied for the post of the governor, as well as a request for relevant clarification. The Bank of Slovenia Act does not stipulate the method of proposing a candidate by the President; it enables him/her to freely choose a candidate with or without a call for applications. Thus, all candidates have equal possibilities. Any explanation about the candidate, whom the President has not proposed, would be extremely unusual and beyond the established practice, both in Slovenia and abroad.

The next reproach in this proposal claims that President Drnovšek did not consult the leaders of the political groups on candidates for the post of governor, although this was supposed to be an established practice. At the outset of his term of office, President Drnovšek complied with this practice, which, unfortunately, did not bear fruit. It should repeatedly be emphasised that President Drnovšek acted in full compliance with the law, as he is not obliged to hold consultations with political groups in proposing a candidate for the governor of the Bank of Slovenia.

The President has always been aware of the fact that the proposed candidate must obtain majority support in the National Assembly. In the case of the first candidate, Mr Mitja Gaspari, this support was granted by the coalition leader, Mr Janez Janša, both to the candidate and to the President of the Republic. A change occurred after the successful introduction of the euro, and Mr Gaspari was left without support. In the case of the second candidate, Mr Andrej Rant, the President invited for a discussion those leaders of the political groups who wished to attend the meeting. The invitation was accepted by all but the Slovene National Party (SNS). In a long conversation the President explained in detail his proposal and asked for support of the candidate. In these talks, the leaders of the political groups had no objections whatsoever to the candidacy of Mr Rant. During the appointment procedure in the National Assembly, however, they rather referred to alleged irregularities which had been supposedly taking place in certain bank braches of Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB) abroad than to the candidate himself. The candidate did not obtain the necessary support.

In the case of Dr Jože Mencinger, the President first consulted the coalition leader, Mr Janez Janša. The latter refused his support of the candidate. Consequently, the President took the refusal into account and withdrew his proposal.

President Drnovšek continued his search for an appropriate candidate; however, till now none of the invited experts has consented to candidacy. Therefore, there were also no consultations with the political groups. President Drnovšek will continue to assert his right to propose a candidate in the manner provided by the Bank of Slovenia Act. Should the President have been obliged to consider a proposal from the political parties submitted in the preliminary consultations with the President of the Republic, his role would have been reduced to the mere submission of the proposal thus (politically) prepared to the National Assembly.

President Drnovšek does not exert any pressure on MPs, of which he has been criticised in the letter, and fully complies with Article 83 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, providing that members of the National Assembly are representatives of the entire nation and are not bound to any instructions.

It is expected that the MPs themselves will also respect the law which gives the President of the Republic the right to formulate a proposal for the candidate for governor in the National Assembly. In accordance with the previous practice, members of the National Assembly will also receive relevant substantiation of the proposal and a request for its support.

There is nothing unreasonable and irresponsible in the previous actions of President Drnovšek, as stated in the proposal you have received. So far, the President of the Republic has acted with deliberation and in full compliance with the law. President Drnovšek will continue to make efforts to submit a proposal to the National Assembly for the governor's candidacy as soon as possible.

As regards responsibility, one should recall the fact that, like members of the National Assembly, the President of the Republic too is the representative of all Slovenian citizens, being elected by direct ballot."

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