I simply cannot follow all the stories that are currently developing back in Slovenia. Among the corridors of power these seem to be decisive times that will produce winners and losers of the next elections. Or at least so my political feelings tell me.
First is the affair with the secret services â€“ SOVA. The government launched an inquiry into how special funds were spent and published few extracts out of which the media published a plane ticket supposedly paid for the travel of an alternative doctor from India (just how bizzare does this sound?!). The person was, supposedly, travelling to Slovenia to heal the then-sick President Drnovšek. The government, including the Prime Minister, presents this as a clear sign of corruptness among the centre-left political forces that were in power before the current government (forgetting that part of his coalition parties were in power before as wellâ€¦). Anyway, no matter what someone thinks about the whole story something is clear: the secret service can obviously not function normally anymore and the Prime Minister Janša made a strategic mistake. Why?
Because he is fighting people that do not compete with him for power any longer. He attacks a former Prime Minister / current President, who clearly intends to step out of politics after his mandate ends. The SOVA affairs also questions the role of its previous head, Iztok Podbregar, who never expressed the wish to enter party-politics and is actually quite good in defending himself. At the same time Janša, otherwise known as a good strategist, appears to have lost the compass. He is losing ground in the opinion polls and then blames the public and media for being unfair. We have heard this before and it currently really doesn’t help the government’s standing.
Bot most importantly, Janša started to behave as the leader of the opposition again, not as head of the government running the country. Heâ€™s on the offensive again, like in the period when he was the leader of the opposition. I give him a lot of credit for how he started his mandate â€“ with a very visible change in his communication with the public and the opposition. Forget it, itâ€™s over.
More to come. At the same time the police threatens with a general strike and asks the Minister for Public Administration to resign. Slovenia also still runs its monetary policy without a Governor of the Central Bank. After the President has suggested 6 candidates, 2 of them ended defeated in the Parliament while 4 of them declined the offer. Again, this is the wrong political fight for the majority to pick it seems. The Central Bank has limited powers once a country adopts the Euro. The only credible reason is that the privatisation of Slovenian banks could be finished under the mandate of the next Governor. In that case having someone loyal on the spot helps.
The Liberal Democrats (LDS) are seemingly going through the first phase of the revivial. More on it later, here I just wanted to mention that another “Mr Capital”, Matjaž Gantar (CEO of KD Group) left the circles around Janša. He suddenly appeared as member of the LDS experts committee on the economy. Obviously the place where the new LDS policy on economic reforms will be drafted. At the same time there is a fight among the State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy, Andrijana Starina Kosem (and the Minister Andrej Vizjak. She is planning her departure and was nominated President of the Supervisory Board of the main (still?) daily newspaper Delo. The capital holders behind come from the circles close to the Slovenian Peopleâ€™s Party and the move is made against the wish of the Minister and the Prime Minister. Things are slipping out of handsâ€¦
In all of this even the Parliament, who was recently unable to compromise on the position of independent MPs and is currently still without the statutorily-required Vice-President from the opposition, seems an organised place.
And where is Pahor? Ah true, he signed to pact of â€œnon-aggressionâ€?. But perhaps he is right. Sometimes, especially in chaotic times, itâ€™s better not to say too much.
P.S.: A smaller one: just 6 months before the EU Presidency there is also a strange change in the less visible Government Office for European Affairs. The previous Deputy, Peter Ješovnik, leaves his post to give place to the current director of the Government Office for Communication (= the Communications services of the government) Gregor Krajc. While Krajc is a face very well known in EU circles, the change still comes as a surprise.