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10.02.2012 17:35
ELECTIONS, GOVERNMENT, APPOINTMENTS
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Ministers in Slovenia's Tenth Cabinet (bio)

Ljubljana, 10 February (STA) - Below are the biographies of all 12 ministers in the Janez Janša cabinet, the tenth in independent Slovenia:

ANDREJ VIZJAK (SDS) - minister of labour, the family and social affairs

        Andrej Vizjak, 47, holds a master's degree in electrical engineering. He was an MP in the 2008-2011 term, serving as the chair of the Public Finances Oversight Commission, and was also elected to parliament in the general election held on 4 December 2011. Before entering politics at state level, he served as mayor of Brežice, SE Slovenia, state secretary for employment at the Labour Ministry and as a labour inspector.
        Considered a close aide to Janša, he is one of a handful of ministers with previous executive experience, having served as economy minister in Janša's cabinet in the 2004-2008 term.
        His stint has been praised by businessmen due to his focus on helping companies, in particular exporters, but he has also been criticised for the opaque sale of retailer Mercator and publisher Delo to Pivovarna Laško and Istrabenz, respectively, which took place during his term and ended in disaster for the acquiring companies.

ZVONKO ČERNAČ (SDS) - minister of infrastructure and spatial planning

        Zvonko Černač, 49, has a degree in law. He has been an MP as well as the SDS vice-president since 2004. He also served as the head of general service at the company operating the Postojnska jama cave and later as the acting director of the Kobilarna Lipica stud farm. Before he was elected to parliament, he led the housing fund in Postojna, where he is also deputy-mayor.
        Considered a close associate of Janša's, Černač was one of the most outspoken opposition MPs in the previous parliament and the chair of the Intelligence Oversight Commission.
        He will take charge of what has already been dubbed a "super-ministry", overseeing massive infrastructure investments planned for the coming years as well as the energy sector, which has been transferred to this portfolio from the Economy Ministry.

VINKO GORENAK (SDS) - interior minister

        Vinko Gorenak, 56, holds a PhD in management science but has built his career in the police. He boasts almost 30 years of service in the force, ranging from teacher at the police academy to police officer and head of the Celje police precinct (1984-1989).
        In 1990, he started his career at the Interior Ministry, first as adviser to the minister and later as a senior member of the staff before he was named state secretary in the interim government of Andrej Bajuk in 2000, a post he also held for two years in Janša's previous government before he became state secretary in the office of the prime minister between 2005 and 2008.
        He was elected to parliament for the first time in 2008, but soon became one of the most visible MPs, including as the head of the Home Policy Committee. Never one to mince his words, he recently labelled President Danilo Türk a "loser" for refusing to name Janša PM-designate.
        Gorenak has moreover been active in academia since 1994, serving as an associate professor for security organisations management at the Maribor University.

ŽIGA TURK (SDS) - minister of education, science, culture and sport

        Žiga Turk is a 50-year-old doctor of technical sciences. He has been with the Ljubljana Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering since 1989, presently as the head of the department for construction IT. Between 2007 and 2008 he served as minister without portfolio for development in Janša's government. He is also a SDS councillor in Ljubljana City Council and secretary general of the EU Reflection Group.
        Turk is one of the pioneers of the internet in Slovenia and was also the initiator and editor of the landmark computer magazine Moj mikro. He is also perhaps the most active Twitter user (he started using Twitter as an early adopter in September 2007) and a prolific blogger.
        After his first stint in government, Turk retreated to academia but remained an outspoken observer and commentator. Most notably, he was part of a group that rose to prominence last year became know as "the resetters", calling for a "reset" of Slovenia and early elections. Two members of that group, Janez Šušteršič and Gregor Virant, would go on to form the Virant List, while Turk stayed with the SDS.

JANEZ ŠUŠTERŠIČ (Virant List) - finance minister

        Janez Šušteršič is a 45-year-old doctor of economic sciences (his doctorate deals with the political economy of the transition to a market economy). He is presently an associate professor at the Faculty for Management in Koper, while he also lectures at the Nova Gorica School of Advanced Social Studies (FUDŠ) and at the International School for Social and Business Studies in Celje.
        The head of the government Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD) between 2001 and 2007, Šušteršič is a member of the circle of a younger generation of neoliberal economists, small-government advocates and free-market liberals who are seeking a break with the gradualist economic policies of the past.
        As such he was also a part of a group that rose to prominence last year and became know as "the resetters", calling for a "reset" of Slovenia. The group provided a springboard for the formation of the Virant List just before the early elections last year, which also marks the start of Šušteršič's career in politics.

SENKO PLIČANIČ (Virant list) - minister of justice and public administration

        Senko Pličanič is 48 and holds a PhD in law. He is an associate professor at the Ljubljana Faculty of Law, the director of the Public Administration Institute and co-owner of the private Institute for Public Administration Consulting, where he cooperates with law expert Rajko Pirnat.
        He was visiting researcher at Berkeley University in 1996 on a Fulbright scholarship, which he received again in 2006 as visiting professor at the San Francisco Golden Gate University. His academic interests range from environmental law to administrative and privacy law.
        Although this is his debut in politics, he is the co-author of several pieces of legislation, including the spatial planning act and the freedom of information act.

RADOVAN ŽERJAV (People's Party/SLS) - minister of economic development and technology

        Radovan Žerjav, 43, holds a master's degree in chemistry. He served as deputy-director at state-owned oil company Nafta Lendava before entering politics in 2007, when he replaced Janez Božič as transport minister. He considers the introduction of motorway toll stickers in mid-2008 is the biggest achievement of his stint as minister.
        He was elected to parliament in 2008 and took over as SLS president in May 2009. Initially criticised as an awkward party president, he grew into his role and went on to position the SLS as a modern centrist party, which played a constructive role in the opposition and occasionally backed government-sponsored laws.
        Žerjav has said his priority would be to kick-start the economy, mainly by cutting red tape and reducing the cost of doing business.

FRANC BOGOVIČ (SLS) - minister of agriculture and environment

        Franc Bogovič, 49, holds a degree in agricultural engineering. After being elected the mayor of Krško four times since 1998, he had to give up the post in December as a result of new provisions banning MPs from serving as mayors.
        Before launching a family farming business in 1990, Bogovič worked at the farming company Agrokombinat Krško. His track record in the agri-food business has earned him plaudits and even the opposition has described him as a suitable candidate for the post.
        As mayor of the municipality that is home to Slovenia's sole nuclear power plant, Bogovič has also served as vice-president of the Group of European Municipalities with Nuclear Facilities.

LJUDMILA NOVAK (New Slovenia/NSi) - minister without portfolio for Slovenians abroad

        Ljudmila Novak is a 52-year-old professor of German and Slovenian, who last taught in 2004 at the institute for the education of disabled youths in Kamnik. She was the mayor of Moravče from 2001 until 2004, when she was elected to the European Parliament on the NSi ticket. As MEP, she served on the committee on culture, education, youth, media and sport, and the regional development committee.
        Novak became NSi president in 2008, replacing Andrej Bajuk after the party failed to make it to parliament in the general election. She was elected MP in the 4 December 2011 general election, as she led her party back into parliament.
        The NSi has traditionally had strong ties with the diaspora, in particular with political emigrants who fled Communist persecution after the World War II. Her department is in charge of nurturing relations with the diaspora and has few executive tasks.

ALEŠ HOJS (NSi) - defence minister

        Aleš Hojs, 50, is a construction engineer best known as a member of the management board of national motorway company DARS between 2006 and 2009. He has also held senior positions at the Ljubljana water utility Vodovod-Kanalizacija and, most recently, the property developer Kranjska investicijska družba
        Following his withdrawal from DARS, he has been an outspoken critic of the failure to honour commitments to subcontractors, blaming those responsible for the national motorway programme for the situation.
        Critics have said he does not have enough experience to head such an important department, but he has countered that he had been in charge of rescue and protection at DARS so he has cooperated extensively at least with the civilian part of the Defence Ministry.

KARL ERJAVEC (Pensioners' Party/DeSUS) - foreign minister

        Karl Erjavec, 51, has a degree in law and was elected to parliament for the first time in the 4 December 2011 general election. He has been at the helm of DeSUS since May 2005; he was previously a member of the People's Party (SLS) and the Liberal Democrats (LDS). Before that he was the head of the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman and between 2001 and 2004 state secretary for judicial administration at the Justice Ministry.
        Erjavec was defence minister in Janša's 2004-2008 government and environment and spatial planning minister in the Borut Pahor government that followed. His first stint as minister was overshadowed by the scandal surrounding the Patria defence deal (he was charged with misfeasance in office but acquitted, although the verdict is not yet final). His second stint did not end well, though, as he quit just as parliament was about to hand him a no-confidence vote over his failure to implement key waste management regulations.
        Erjavec is the most seasoned cabinet member, but he has often proved a recalcitrant negotiator and had frequently threatened to leave the coalition over his tough stance on pensions; last May DeSUS actually left the coalition, leading to the eventual demise of the Borut Pahor cabinet and early elections.
        
TOMAŽ GANTAR (DeSUS) - health minister

        Tomaž Gantar, 51, is a doctor of medicine and the latest in a series of physicians to hold the health portfolio. Working at the Izola General Hospital since 1998, he was the director of the hospital between 2000 and 2004, when he took over as the chief of the office of Koper Mayor Boris Popovič, his close associate. In 2006 he was elected the mayor of Piran. He failed to win re-election in 2010.
        Throughout his political career he has continued to work in Izola General Hospital as a urology surgeon. His principal task as minister will be health reform. He has suggested he would follow the guidelines set by his predecessor Dorijan Marušič.

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10.02.2012 17:35

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