The Slovenian parliament rejected on March 1 the government’s candidates for the chairman and the two members of the fiscal council, an independent body dedicated to monitoring fiscal policy.
The attempt to appoint the council failed as the government was unable to get sufficient members of the opposition to back their nominees in order to get the two-thirds majority required.
Damjan Kozamernik, the government’s nominee for chairman, obtained 54 votes - just six short of the 60 required, while Marjan Senjur and Davorin Kracun - both nominated as council members - each received 53 votes, according to statements on the parliament website.
The government’s nominees were backed by the government coalition made up of the Party of Modern Center (SMC), Slovenia's Social Democrats (SD) and Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS). However, the three parties did not have enough votes to push through the appointments without opposition support.
Two opposition MPs, former prime minister Alenka Bratusek and Joze Tanko of Slovenia's main opposition party the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), criticised the government for not consulting the opposition before nominating the candidates, local media reported.
All three are economists with experience working for government institutions. Kozamernik work at SID Bank until 2013, and prior to that he led the analytical and research centre at the Slovenian central bank. Senjur and Kracun are both professors of economics and former government officials.
The fiscal council will be tasked with evaluating the compliance of fiscal policy with fiscal rules and EU regulations, and monitoring the implementation of the state and local budgets, and pension and health budgets. Its three members will be appointed for a five-year term with the option of one re-appointment.
Establishment of the fiscal council is required by EU legislation, and almost all EU member states have such body. Finance minister Dusan Mramor told the parliament that appointment of the fiscal council members and chairman is the last phase of forming healthy public finances, local media reported.
Slovenia’s parliament adopted fiscal rule legislation to regulate the work of the fiscal council in July 2015. Previously, Slovenia was the only eurozone country without this legislation.
Slovenia had a fiscal council from 2009 until 2012 with only a consultative remit, which folded because all its members resigned due to a lack of government support. Its aim was to help improve fiscal policy, and it was not established in line with EU requirements.
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