In response to the request for the list of speakers for the parliamentary questions, the Legal Service of the National Assembly confirmed that the extreme left Levica Party is not an opposition party. Nor is it a coalition party. What is Levica’s status in the Slovenian Parliament? The role of Levica is so unorthodox and outside of all the frameworks of legal imagination that we can only call it a cross-party coalition party, since they had to change the rules to accommodate its position.
The Legislative and Legal Service of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia gave an opinion on the status of the extreme left Levica Party in the National Assembly. Levica’s status was undefined until now, since Levica, in all legal views, acted as part of the coalition, although it wanted to give the impression of an opposition party in the public eye. Despite all efforts, this prevented them from being defined as the “constructive opposition” that they liked to call themselves.
“In a parliamentary democracy, based on the balance of power principle, the parliamentary question is a means of political control over the work of the government or the individual ministers,” explained the Legal Service of the National Assembly. The questions are intended to assert individual responsibility; however, they can indirectly lead to a collective responsibility of the government and its ministers as well. That is why the right of deputies to pose questions to the government and ministers is an important way of exercising control over the work of the government.
Levica is Not an Opposition Party
It is precisely because the parliamentary question falls within the Parliament’s supervisory function of the government, the importance of the opposition is emphasized within it. It is clear that a party actively taking part in the coalition, while insisting that it is not a part of the coalition, cannot be an opposition party because as such it would disable the real opposition to exercise its control over the work of the government. A special item on the agenda for the deputies’ questions is set out for this purpose each month. The Prime Minister, the ministers and the Secretary General of the Government must attend the session. Should they be absent on the date of a particular session, they must announce the reason for their absence at least five days before the beginning of the session at the National Assembly.
Next, the provisions of articles 244 and 245 of the PoDZ-1 determine the list of speakers for the parliamentary questions according to whether the speaker belongs to the opposition or ruling coalition deputy group. “The Legislative and Legal Service has already formulated the opinion that the Levica Deputy Group cannot be considered as an opposition group.” Moreover, according to the Legal Service, the circumstances and elements of their assessment have not changed since the last assessment of the status of the Levica Party.
Levica is a Cross-Coalition Party
Nevertheless, the legal service found itself at a crossroads, as they are convinced that Levica is not an opposition party, however, in their opinion, “it cannot be absolutely and undisputedly ranked among the ruling coalition deputy groups”, which is why this is a legally unregulated case or legal gap “that should be filled, taking into account the purpose (sense) of the existing regulation of the institute of parliamentary questions “.
The current rule in force gave the opposition the right to the first three parliamentary questions to the Prime Minister, and the fourth question belonged to the coalition. However, in order for the cross-coalition Levica Party to not remain without a parliamentary question, the current formula 3 + 1 was adjusted accordingly. In the case of the cross-coalition “Levica Deputy Group, the analogy to recognize a special status in asking parliamentary questions should be used, which means using the formula with a 3 + 1 + 1 ratio.” The question remains whether the cross-coalition’s parliamentary question comes before or after the coalition’s question.