četrtek, julij 29, 2004

Rupel loses job, kicking and screaming

Dimitrij Rupel was expelled from the post of foreign minister on 5 July, by a National Assembly vote of 50:22. [STA / 05.07.04 / Slovene parliament sacks foreign minister]. Prime Minister Anton Rop requested the vote on 24 June, because he no longer felt he could trust Rupel. Rop told the press that Rupel has too actively supported the opposition in domestic politics and has criticized the government on several occasions.

The final straw was when Rupel attended the conservative parties’ recent Assembly of the Republic after Rop and other LDS leaders advised him not to. The vote for Rupel’s dismissal attracted a wide range of support, from the coalition LDS, ZLSD and DeSUS parties to the opposition SNS and SMS and independent member of parliament Igor Štemberger. Rupel found support from the opposition NSi, SDS and SLS parties as well as from Hungarian minority representative Maria Pozsonec.

Rupel told the press that Rop’s request to replace him was akin to the disciplinary tactics used by the old League of Communists. [STA / 03.07.04 /
Slovene foreign minister likens premier's dismissal move to "coup d'etat"]. Later, on 3 July in Delo he suggested that the LDS was using him as a whipping boy for its disappointment over the party’s recent poor showing in the elections to the European Parliament. Rupel also has suggested that former president Milan Kučan recommended his dismissal, a charge which Kučan denies [STA / 06.07.04 / Ex-Slovene president denies he recommended foreign minister's dismissal].

Just after the vote in parliament, Rupel announced he is leaving the LDS; several days later, he announced he is joining the opposition SDS [STA / 06.07.04 /
Ousted foreign minister leaves Slovenia's ruling party]. Rupel has been a member of the LDS since 1994, when the Democratic Party merged with the Liberal Democratic Party to form the present Liberal Democracy of Slovenia.

In Rupel’s stead, Rop proposed current Slovene ambassador to Germany Ivo Vajgl to assume the post of foreign minister [SBW / 12.07.04
/ Ivo Vajgl New Foreign Minister]. Vajgl was approved by the National Assembly on 6 July, while Rupel returned to the rank and file of parliament as an MP. Rupel held the post of foreign minister from 1990-1993, again from February to June 2000 and finally from October 2000 until now. [STA / 07.07.04 / New foreign minister "very bad choice for Slovenia's reputation" - party leader; Delo / 07.07.04 / "Interesting" foreign minister replaced by "boring diplomat" - Slovene daily].