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Slovenia Business Week no. 49/2004: Jansa Reveals Ministerial Nominees

Incoming Prime Minister Janez Jansa, the leader of the Slovenian Democrats (SDS), presented his 16 ministerial nominees to the public on 23 November

Incoming Prime Minister Janez Jansa, the leader of the Slovenian Democrats (SDS), presented his 16 ministerial nominees to the public on Tuesday, 23 November.

Below are short biographies of all 16 ministerial nominees:

Dimitrij Rupel, 58, is the SDS nominee for foreign minister, a post he has held before, for six years and nine months all together. A prominent figure among those who were pushing for democratic changes throughout the 1980s, Rupel became Slovenia's first foreign minister after the first multi-party elections were held in 1990. His second term as the country's chief diplomat came at the end of 2000, when he entered the centre-left government of the Liberal Democrats' leader Janez Drnovsek. However, he was dismissed by the prime minister in June 2004 for siding all too openly with an opposition-sponsored forum. He then left the LDS, returned to his seat in parliament and joined the deputy faction of Janez Jansa's Slovenian Democrats (SDS).

The nominee for the interior minister, Dragutin Mate, 41, has a degree in defence studies. Mate (SDS) has been employed at the Defence Ministry since 1990, first working at the civil protection and counter-intelligence departments. In 1996 he became resident military and air force attaché to Bosnia-Herzegovina. After returning to Slovenia he was deputy head of the Defence Ministry's Military Affairs Administration and a military inspector. In 2000 he headed the ministry's personnel department and later on became director of the Ljubljana Defence Administration.

Andrej Bajuk, the founding president of the centre-right NSi, is best known for his six-month stint as prime minister in the second half of 2000, and his vocal appearances in the ranks of the parliamentary opposition between 2000 and 2004. Bajuk, born in Slovenia in 1943, grew up in Argentina, where he spent most of his life. A doctor of economics, Bajuk has worked for the World Bank and later for the Inter-American Development Bank, where he was the director of the chair's staff for five years. He served six more years as a special representative at the Bank's European headquarters. His name was first mentioned in Slovenia after the 1996 general election, when three centre-right parties signed an agreement to form a government coalition. That coalition fell through, however, when one of the parties reached an agreement to enter a different coalition, led by the LDS of the opposite bloc.

The Defence Ministry is to be headed by Karl Erjavec of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS). Erjavec, 44, is a state secretary at the Justice Ministry. A lawyer by profession, Erjavec was employed in the private sector until 1990. His public-sector career began in the office of the Ombudsman for Human Rights in 1995, during which time he extensively dealt with the protection of human rights.

Lovro Sturm of the NSi, 66, has been nominated to the post of justice minister. A Constitutional Court judge between 1990 and 1998, Sturm is currently a professor at the Ljubljana Faculty of Law and chairman of the Slovenian section of the International Commission of Jurists. Sturm is also the director of the Ljubljana Human Rights Law Institute, and he was the minister of education for a brief period in 2000 in the centre-right government of Andrej Bajuk. In September 2004, Sturm was nominated by President Janez Drnovsek to the post of ad hoc judge for personal data safety at the joint supervisory body of Eurojust.

The Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs is to be headed by Janez Drobnic, vice-president of the NSi since 2002. Drobnic, 47, has a master's degree in sociology and is currently an NSi MP.

SDS MP Andrej Vizjak, 40, has been nominated as the economics minister. He was a state secretary in charge of employment at the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs in 2000. An electrical and computer-science engineer, Vizjak worked as researcher between 1998 and 1994 and was a national labour inspector between 1994 and 2000. Currently, he is also the mayor of Brezice, having been elected in 2002.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food is to be headed by SDS member Marija Lukacic, a geological engineer. Lukacic, 55, has been the Agriculture Ministry state undersecretary in charge of natural disasters since 2001. She was also the director of the government denationalisation office (1999-2001) and the director of the state fund for agricultural land and forests (1993-1999).

Vasko Simoniti is the SDS nominee for culture minister. Simoniti, 53, has a Ph.D. in history and is a lecturer at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts. He is also a member of the board of Slovenska matica, an association promoting Slovenian national awareness and heritage.

SDS MP Milan Zver, 42, was nominated minister of education and sport. Holding a doctoral degree in political science, Zver is a lecturer of sociology at the Maribor Faculty of Management and Economics. He was a government adviser between 1992-1994, as well as a member of the National Council and an MP.

Jurij Zupan (NSi) is a doctor of quantum chemistry. Zupan, 61, works for the Faculty of Chemistry, where he has headed a laboratory at the National Institute of Chemistry since 1974. He was head of the national science and research council from 1998 to 2001, a member of the higher education council from 1998 to 2002, and its president from 2001 to 2004.

SDS MP Andrej Brucan has been nominated as the health minister. A medical doctor, Brucan, 61, has already headed the Health Ministry under the brief Andrej Bajuk-led government in 2000. Brucan currently heads the Department of Internal Medicine at the Medical Center Ljubljana, is a member of the council of the European Society for Emergency Medicine and chairs the Slovenian Society for Emergency Medicine.

Gregor Virant, a senior SDS official, has been nominated as the minister of public administration. Virant, 35, has a Ph.D. in law and works as a senior lecturer at the Ljubljana Faculty of Law. He was a Constitutional Court adviser on referenda, elections and public administration. He has been state secretary in charge of public administration at the Interior Ministry since 2000.

President of the Slovenian People's Party (SLS) Janez Podobnik has been nominated the minister of environment and spatial planning. A medical doctor by profession, Podobnik, 45, served as an MP from 1992-2004, but failed to be elected to parliament in this year's general election. He was speaker of parliament between 1996 and 2000 and was mayor of Cerkno from 1994 to 1998.

The CEO of the Slovenian Motorways' Company DARS, Janez Bozic, has been nominated the transport minister (SLS). Bozic, 50, has headed DARS since 1999. He obtained a master's degree at the Faculty of Organisational Sciences with a thesis about organisation and information system of construction projects in 1992. He worked at two construction companies before being appointed the head of DARS.

Darinka Mravljak has been nominated as the minister without portfolio for local self-government and regional development. A SLS MP from 1996 to 2000, Mravljak, 39, has a degree in agronomy. She was deputy mayor of Radlje ob Dravi from 1998 to 2002, in charge of budget implementation. She is a member of the supervisory board of the Regional Development Fund and of the holding uniting Slovenian power stations (HSE).

The new Janez Jansa-led government is expected to be confirmed in an extraordinary session of parliament in the first week of December, most probably on 2 or 3 December.

Prior to a vote on the cabinet line-up in parliament, ministerial nominees will have to undergo hearings before the relevant parliamentary committees.

Parliament will take a vote on the cabinet as a whole instead of voting on each candidate separately. A simple majority is needed for the cabinet's appointment.

Given that the incoming government has a four-seat majority in the 90-seat parliament, no trouble is expected in the appointment of the new cabinet.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Author: STA