It has been a while since I haven’t posted anything about Slovenia. I’ve spent there quite some time though recently. And found the political climate more and more confusing. On two fronts: the Liberal Democrats (LDS) are slowly disappearing as a credible party, while the Social Democrats (SD) (they actually changed the corporate image in the meantime) gain ground while basically standing still.
Let’s deal with the second one for a moment. 4 big shots from the LDS’ parliamentary group have left the party and joined the SD in the parliament. The names will be known for some of you perhaps, one of them being a former Prime Minister. Darja Lavtižar Bebler, Milan M. Cvikl, Anton Rop (former PM) and Marko Pavliha thus swithced not only parties but also parlimentary groups, bringing the total number of the SD parliamentarians to 14, which places it now second only to the groupd of governing Slovenian Democrats (SDS). The party has also shown some serious growth in % of public support recently.
But how realistic are these indicators? As an observer I haven’t noticed an increased activity of the party, which would be followed by organisational growth, positive results and thus higher support. No, most of the points were scored due to the lost strength of the LDS in the parliament and its almost complete dismantling. Wonder if this is a good promise for SD, a party that has been until now always regarded as the smaller party of the left, next to LDS (yes, LDS was and is still left) and still has to show credible potential to lead the Slovenian left to victory at the parliamentary elections next year.
On the other hand the LDS seems to be drowning even further. Further MPs have left the party grouping in order to become independent deputies. Some of them former an association called “Seriously” (Zares), promised to grow into a political party. The not so surprising support of Gregor Golobic to this new group of former LDS guys, gives it a bit more of a liberal outlook. For sure, it means we have a new centre-left potential in Slovenia that could gain the needed % to enter the parliament next year.
One thing worries me though about the behaviour of the President of SD. He might well be happy about the growing strength (in numbers and intellectually), but the newcomers also have their history. Rop certainly won’t easily accept the ego-presidential behaviour of Pahor and vice-versa. These two personalities are sure to clash soon. For SD hopefully not before the elections.
4 thoughts on “Liberals becoming Social Democrats – as if it would matter”
I couldn’t have agreed more with you on this topic. It is in a way frustrating to see that our politics has not been able to consolidate on ideological lines in 17 years. That someone can just jump from liberal to socialist in a day just comes to show that most of our main politicians have no ideological backbone but only egoistic pragmatic interests where they’re only interested in staying in politics on nicely paid jobs. There’s also one thing that now finally became obvious. That is, that LDS has never been a political party in a proper sense. Just a conglomerate of individualistic interests with an aim to be in power and get as much as they could from that. It all fell apart when the leader who served as a focal point for everyone decided to leave.
There is sth for SD to learn from LDS story of collapse. If Pahor decides to leave them and run for president they will collapse too and then the left oriented part of slovenian population, which in my opinion is still larger then the right oriented, will basically have no one to vote for. Nice really.
It shows that so called “liberals” were only liberal in their name. From the beginning they promoted big government, national interests in economy, political interventions, high taxes, scandinavian models and other issues that would normally be attributed to neosocialists. It seems that they forgot that they live in Europe, where liberal means classic liberal and not in America where it translates into philosophical socialist.
It’s good that they are gone. They were giving liberalism bad name; people started to identify it with socialism.
True, I agree with most that you have written. But I wonder if they could have done differently in the first years of independence. Managing a country coming from socialism had to include more socially oriented policies…The question is why they haven’t changed progressively towards 2000 and the later entry into the EU.
I have opened this debate in a previous post and I wonder what you think about a smaller and “clean” LDS might bring a liberal party to Slovenia?