ZAGREB (Reuters) - Slovenia's leftist opposition submitted a no-confidence motion against the centre-right government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa on Friday, and a secret parliamentary ballot is expected next week.
Karl Erjavec, leader of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), said the opposition had gathered 42 signatures in favour of the motion from among deputies in the 90-seat parliament.
Until recently DeSUS was part of the ruling coalition, but it quit saying it was unhappy with the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, its jeopardising of media freedom and siding with Hungary and Poland in disputes within the European Union over democratic standards in those countries.
"Our partners are the states that have difficulties with the rule of law," STA news agency quoted Erjavec as telling a news conference.
Erjavec would be the candidate for the prime minister if the no-confidence vote succeeded in bringing down the current administration.
The opposition needs 46 votes to remove the government and would need support from some deputies from the centre-left Party of Modern Centre (SMC), which with Jansa's Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) and the conservative New Slovenia forms the ruling coalition. SMC has eight deputies.
SMC's leader and the Economy Minister Zdravko Pocivalsek said earlier this week he supported the government, saying stability was needed for the fight against COVID-19 and to secure an economic recovery.
(Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Alex Richardson)