Slovenian Minister of Culture Resigns

    Julijana Bizjak Mlakar Julijana Bizjak Mlakar

    LJUBLJANA: The Slovenian Minister of Culture Julijana Bizjak Mlakar resigned on 25 April 2016 at a session of the National Assembly ahead of a scheduled vote on her dismissal.

    The vote of confidence was called by the Prime Minister after Bizjak Mlakar previously rejected his call to resign over a dispute concerning the UNESCO-listed Idrija mercury mine. In his speech in the parliament, he noted that her actions and the failure to implement key measures in culture were detrimental to Slovenian culture.

    Bizjak Mlakar responded that the Prime Minister did not want to discuss cultural issues and expected that she “be unconditionally obedient and dutiful” and implement decrees that she said could not be fulfilled. “I do not see myself in a government that works in the interest of lobbies and the wealthiest and on the other hand neglects legality and morality,” she added before handing in her resignation.

    Bizjak Mlakar has been criticized for her latest additions to the new media law. The amendments would regulate comments on Internet media, a change that was unpopular with the public, and contain a criticised Slovenian music quota requirement for radio stations. The minister has also been criticised for lack of dialogue with public broadcaster RTV Slovenia, putting herself in the position of the sole judge of whether a film, a TV series or any audiovisual work can be characterised as a Slovenian audiovisual work.

    Bizjak Mlakar is the sixth minister to leave the cabinet of the Prime Minister. Until a replacement is announced, Gorazd Žmavc, minister without portfolio for Slovenians abroad, will assume the post. Some possible successors for Bizjak Mlakar have already been mentioned, including the secretary-general at the Ministry of Culture and a high school principal in rural Slovenia.