Slovenia’s Pahor calls for ‘defusing political tensions’ amid health crisis

NEWS 16.12.2021 13:47
Source: Jure Makovec / AFP, Ilustracija

Slovenian President Borut Pahor on Thursday called for defusing political tension in the country and warned about the consequences of a lack of dialogue for efforts to deal with the coronavirus crisis and for political stability.

Unless the rhetoric used by the government and the opposition, which abounds in “cruelty and lack of civility” stops, the situation will continue escalating until parliamentary elections, to be held in less than four months, and have long-term consequences, Pahor said in an interview with Slovenian Radio, adding that his attempts to help establish dialogue between opposed political camps had failed.

Pahor noted that he would like parliamentary elections, which he plans to call for 24 April, to show that Slovenian voters “reject any kind of radicalism”, assessing that most voters have moderate political views and advocate dialogue and cooperation and a stable political climate.

He said that he believed the Janez Janša government, even though accused by the opposition of managing the epidemic poorly, had acted appropriately, taking into account recommendations by experts and scientists and introducing measures similar to those in other countries.

Compulsory vaccination acceptable

He noted, however, that political divisions and absence of dialogue had had an impact on the public, undermining citizens’ trust of the government with regard to epidemiological rules and vaccination as well as of scientists.

Calling for unity to overcome the health crisis, Pahor said that he agreed with possible compulsory vaccination against Covid-19 if it was proposed by experts and accepted by the government.

This would require the broadest possible political consensus among political parties and in the parliament, before which one should convincingly dispel the fear of vaccination some citizens evidently have, he said.

In 2022 Slovenians will go also to local and presidential elections. Pahor’s second consecutive five-year term in office expires in the autumn and he can no longer run for president.

Number of new infections continues to fall

In the past 24 hours, 1,345 new Covid-19 cases and eight fatalities have been confirmed in Slovenia. This is 1,526 fewer cases than on Wednesday and 343 fewer cases than seven days ago, the Slovenian public health institute said.

The test positivity rate is 27.3% and there are 19,860 active cases.

The seven-day daily average is 1,263 cases and the 14-day incidence per 100,000 population is 942.

A total of 776 Covid patients are hospitalised, including 234 in intensive care units. The death toll now stands at 5,452.

The vaccination rate is a mere 55.7%.

The epidemiological situation is better than a week ago, however, the calming of the epidemic has slowed down. Epidemiologists warn that the detection of the first cases of the much more infectious Omicron variant could be a warning, heralding a new wave of the pandemic.