Slovenia’s Prime Minister, Miro Cerar, handed in his resignation late on Wednesday. Cerar cite frustration with obstruction from coalition partners and opposition from trade unions as the reason for his departure.
Cerar’s resignation came hours after Slovenia’s Supreme Court ruled against a referendum in favour of a major railway project. In his resignation note, Cerar claimed that the ruling ‘was the straw that broke the camel’s back’.
The Koper-Divača rail project, a $1.2 billion project to extend a key rail line from the Adriatic port of Koper to the Italian border, had been approved by voters last September. Referring to the Supreme Court decision, Cerar said that the project had been ‘hit by another blow, taken by those who want to stop Slovenia’s positive development’.
Cerar’s resignation comes less than three months before a general election due to be held in June. Cerar promised he would see to it that his government takes care of day to day business until a new government can be formed.
On Thursday, Slovenian President Borut Pahor reacted to Cerar’s resignation by calling for a snap election in May. Ordinarily, the President would first try to appoint a new Prime Minister, but Pahor claimed that an early election made more sense.
The centre-left government coalition, formed of Cerar’s Party of Modern Centre, the Social Democrats, and the party Desus, took power in September 2014. Speaking at a press conference, Cerar said that coalition partners had been seeking to undermine projects for a long time.
With his coalition unravelling and an election around the corner, it is possible that Cerar’s resignation had less to do with the Supreme Court ruling, and more to do with securing a new mandate. Recognition of political instability within the government may also be behind Pahor’s decision to bring forward the election.
The government is expected to formally recognise Cerar’s resignation within a week.