By: Dr Vinko Gorenak
Time does its work, slowly but persistently erasing our memory. Many have already forgotten how many one-time-use political parties we have had. If we set aside the former mighty Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS) led by Janez Drnovšek, which has long ceased to exist, we cannot ignore its instant successor, the party Zares led by Gregor Golobič, which danced for just one term. Similarly, we cannot overlook Positive Slovenia (PS) led by Zoran Janković, which also came to a notorious end. We cannot ignore the Party of Alenka Bratušek (SAB) either; it no longer exists, not to mention the Party of Miro Cerar, renamed the Modern Centre Party (SMC), and the List of Marjan Šarec (LMŠ) − all of them are already political history. However, it is true that both Bratušek and Šarec sold their two parties to Robert Golob (Gibanje Svoboda) so that they are now some kind of super-ministers, each leading two departments.
The history of new faces for one-time use seems to be repeating itself. Let’s recall the parliamentary elections in April 2022. Voters sent both DeSUS and LMŠ and SAB into the dustbin of history. DeSUS is already forgotten by everyone, but the leaders of LMŠ and SAB, Marjan Šarec and Alenka Bratušek, did not end up in the dustbin of history as decided by the voters. Instead, under the wing of Robert Golob and his coalition, they returned to the top of our politics. Understand if you can; this is possible only in Slovenia.
Now let’s focus on the coalition. If anyone thinks that things will be different from what happened with LDS, Zares, PS, SAB, SMC, and LMŠ, they are sorely mistaken. The situation is simpler than one might think. Gibanje Svoboda will experience exactly the same fate. As a member of the National Assembly, I publicly predicted the fate of Zares, PS, and SMC, stating that there would be as many of them after the next elections as people fit in a “Fičko” (a car in the former Yugoslavia). This prediction always came true. Occasionally, I even made mistakes; in the case of SAB and LMŠ, I predicted even more than the voters decided. Therefore, in the case of the Gibanje Svoboda, I predict that after the next elections, there might be just enough for a small van, or perhaps not even that.
You still remember the famous victory of the Gibanje Svoboda in April 2022. At that time, they clearly stated that they were dancing in celebration of a historic election victory, that they would be in power for two terms, and that they would implement reforms in healthcare, pensions, taxes, education, salaries, and more. Typically, reforms are carried out in the first or second year of the current government’s mandate, rarely later, as the election time approaches. So, what have they achieved in the coalition so far?
None of what they promised. Wait times in healthcare are increasing, there is no healthcare reform, they abolished voluntary supplementary health insurance and introduced mandatory insurance, allegedly making a mistake – those with lower incomes will pay more, while those with higher incomes will pay less. They abolished provisions of Janša’s income tax law, which would have led to higher wages for everyone due to tax breaks. They abolished the law on the long-term care of the elderly and adopted a new one, which reduces the rights and increases the costs for the elderly. They intend to abolish free kindergarten for the second child, introduced by the Janša government, and the list goes on. In summary, everyone will have 2000 euros less annually than they would have had in the previous Janša government.
The leader of the coalition is getting more entangled every day. It is evident that he speaks faster than he thinks. You may recall Loredan Bešič, who claimed to be one with Golob and promised to implement healthcare reform, only to be dismissed by Golob. Apparently, the word of Golob’s private partner, Tina Gaber, holds a lot of weight. Two ministers, Irena Šinko and Uroš Brežan, reportedly had to step down at her request. However, Tatjana Bobnar, former interior minister, and former acting chief of police Boštjan Lindav, punished Golob. It seems they have enough arguments to potentially take Golob to court, not to mention that he should have resigned long ago.
In such circumstances, especially amid internal conflicts in the Gibanje Svoboda, it is clear: they are no longer dancing, the process of disintegration of the Gibanje Svoboda has begun, not only the party itself but also the coalition as a whole.
What about the parliamentary group of SDS? In a figurative sense, my recommendation is: sit on the bank of the Sava River, each of you with a long stick, watch the political corpses of the coalition carried by the river. If any of the political corpses get stuck somewhere, use the stick to help it move along, so that the Sava can carry it away. To be continued.