Slovenia's premier told his defence minister Monday to resign over a telecom privatisation scandal, in the first serious crisis for the seven-month-old coalition government.
"Minister (Janko) Veber cannot fullfil his duties any longer," said Prime Minister Miro Cerar, calling for his resignation by Tuesday.
Veber is in the hot seat for asking military intelligence to examine the impact on state security of the ongoing privatisation of state-owned telecommunications operator Telekom.
Veber has refused to step down so the next move would be for parliament to vote on his removal.
If Veber's sacking is approved, his Social Democrats (SD) party could quit the coalition. But the government itself is not thought not be at risk because Cerar could replace the SD with another party.
The privatisation inquiry was carried out without Cerar's authorisation and exceeded the powers of the intelligence service, according to a parliamentary commission.
Veber, whose party opposes the privatisation of Telekom, reacted to Cerar's resignation call saying he acted in accordance with the law and his duties.
The SD leadership announced an emergency meeting later on Monday to discuss Cerar's decision and the party's future in the coalition government.
Slovenia launched a vast programme of privatisation in 2013 after being threatened by bankruptcy.
But now that stability and growth have returned, the sale of public enterprises has deeply divided the European Union member state.