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June has proven to be a tumultuous month for the Slovenian coalition government. On 4 June 2011, a day before the country’s contentious referendum on pension reform, Gregor Golobič formally resigned from his post as Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology. On 23 June, Igor Lukšič assumed the responsibilities Mr. Golobič left behind and will serve as interim minister (for a period of three months). Simultaneously, Mr. Lukšič will continue in his post as Minister of Education and Sport, a position he has held since November 2008. Prior to his education and sport post, Mr. Lukšič served in various positions at the University of Ljubljana, including chair of the Department of Political Science, and vice dean and dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.
As president of the centre-left Zares party, outgoing higher education minister Mr. Golobič was a staunch proponent of the National Higher Education Programme 2011-2020, Slovenia’s national higher education strategy to promote the country’s knowledge society, which was adopted by the National Assembly on 24 May 2011. However, he opposed the government’s reluctance to increase higher education and research funding, which could undermine the implementation of the newly adopted programme.
Mr. Golobič’s departure, however, is not the only shift in leadership in Slovenia. On 27 June, three weeks after Slovenians rejected the government’s plan to raise the state retirement age to 65, three ministers – from the ministries of economy, public administration and culture – issued their resignations from Prime Minister Borut Pahor’s cabinet, signalling what looks to be the all-out disintegration of the centre-left coalition government.
Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology