Slovenia: after a chaotic week

Linked to the previous post about the editorial comments. The Saturday editions of the main newspapers Dnevnik and Delo feature interviews with Danilo Türk and Borut Pahor, while the opening editorials are openly hostile against the actions of PM Janša last week. Clearly an attack on the journalists doesn’t generate a positive outcome.

I have a slight feeling that the start for the next parliamentary elections has just started and thus we might try to assess the position of various actors. Let’s take a look at Social Democrats, Zares and Janša/SDS.

The Social Democrats (and Pahor) and Zares (and Golobič) are certainly political winners. The principled stand of Pahor on a possible support for this government and early elections was a good choice. He denied supporting the government with votes in the Parliament during the vote of confidence while claiming that he wants to see this government finishing the mandate. There is a statement in the interview he gave for Dnevnik that I’m sure makes Janša particularly angry (and should worry him as well). Pahor basically says that he wants the voters to judge the performance of Janša not the votes in the parliament. He wants Janša to work until the end, so that he might not have any excuse for a severe defeat. He also described the actions of Janša as unnecessary, especially in times as delicate as this: 1 month ahead of the EU Presidency, with growing inflation and people on the streets demanding higher salaries. Pahor uses clear words, perhaps for the first time.

Golobič and his party Zares also won some ground. Of course he has behind him a long career in the centre of politics as the Secretary General of the Liberal Democrats under Drnovšek, and one could see that he will be the defining personality of the elections 2008. Perhaps less “soft” than Pahor, he brings intellectual clarity in the debate and well informed opinions. Particularly to note his comment on Janša’s attack on the petition against censorship signed by 571 journalists and Janša’s complaints about how governing is impossible in this circumstances. Golobič replied that foreign journalists and politicians are not so naive as to believe the petition alone – the problem is when the reports by the diplomats posted in Slovenian are sending abroad the same signals. He went on to bring some comparisons with the period of the last Rop government (last LDS-lead government after Drnovšek’s departure). There were more interpellations, more extraordinary sessions in the Parliament, more referendums that the government lost etc. And neither Drnovšek or Rop complained in the way Janša does. To note that the previous governments lost all but one referendum against Janša…

Janša is clearly coming out of the debacle worse off. He should better be realistic about this.

There is a good commentary by Vlado Miheljak (clearly positioned on the left) about Janša’s biggest current problem: he has no honest friends to tell him that he’s doing badly. Quite true.

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