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Monday, February 26, 2024

Confrontation on the open stage within the transitional left

By: Dr Metod Berlec

We are witnessing an open confrontation on the Slovenian political scene, specifically within the government coalition composed of parties of the transitional left: the Gibanje Svoboda, SD, and Levica. This is happening within the government led by Robert Golob.

The latter is by no means up to the task of the prime minister’s position. Moreover, he has surrounded himself with people who are a recipe for a political disaster. People who are not suitable for political advisers. On the contrary. One of them is the former journalist Vesna Vuković, who was previously known as a specialist in media discreditation, for “media assassinations”. In August two years ago, she first became an adviser for public relations for the Gibanje Svoboda party (GS), and in February last year, she became the general secretary of the party that gained the most seats in the National Assembly. Her actions are guided by resentments and hatred. According to former President Borut Pahor, as he notes in his book Victory is the Beginning, hatred is a “very powerful, highly reactive fuel” in politics and beyond. However, according to him, we have plenty of evidence that, in the end, hatred is not sustainable. “You can win a battle with it, but you almost certainly lose every war. Even Don Corleone advises in the famous Godfather never to hate your enemy because hatred clouds judgment. Judgment in decision-making…”

This is evident in the conflict within the ruling coalition over the Minister of Justice Dominika Švarc Pipan and her controversial purchase of a deteriorating building on Litijska Street in Ljubljana. It is clear that the entire government, including Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič, who hastily withdrew money from the budget reserve at the end of last year, and Prime Minister Golob, who is at the top of the government pyramid, bears responsibility for this amateurish purchase. Therefore, last week, the Prime Minister consciously ignored the call from the presidency of the Social Democrats (SD) and the president of this party, Tanja Fajon, to urge Švarc Pipan to resign, as the party itself did, of which Švarc Pipan is a member. In response to the SD’s call, Švarc Pipan angrily reacted, and last Wednesday, the two ministers verbally clashed, accusing each other of lying. Švarc Pipan even, as journalist and editor Peter Jančič wrote, fiercely attacked her own party and its general secretary Klemen Žibert, claiming that he was at the top of an organised criminal group that had forged the contract for the purchase of a deteriorating building for judges, which they do not want. “The minister has also revealed to us that these conspirators suddenly changed their phones. This is for her the crown proof that they are guilty of her signing the contract for the purchase of a dream building. In addition to the general secretary of the SD, Žibert, they also changed the phone of the state secretary (and deputy to Švarc Pipan), former head of the Court of Audit, Igor Šoltes, now the former general secretary of the ministry from the SD, Uroš Gojkovič, and the head of the investment service, Simon Starček, for whom many media outlets have been convincing us since the beginning of the affair that he is an important member of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), which practically bought the building for Janez Janša from the background, who is still leading Robert Golob’s government from behind.” To make matters worse, Golob’s president of the strategic council for health, surgeon Erik Brecelj, started accusing the SD party of being a “plundering party”, as it recently wanted to employ the infamous leader of the petition signed by 571 journalistic activists against Janša, Blaž Zgaga, at the Oncology Institute.

On Saturday evening, it was revealed that Švarc Pipan had received police protection due to alleged threats. Golob protected her from an “organised criminal group”, allegedly composed of SD members. Undoubtedly, last week Golob found it fitting, following Vuković’s advice, for the Minister of Justice to strongly criticise the SD. He intentionally left her in the ministerial position, even though it was clear that the situation was untenable, that she was “toasted”. She was useful to GS because she poured mud not only on her own party but also on the SD, which had recently been catching up with GS in polls. All this just to keep her ministerial position and save her own skin. In the SD party, they demanded that Golob replace Švarc Pipan as soon as possible to quickly sweep the scandal that shed a bad light on the SD under the rug or to let law enforcement authorities deal with it. However, these authorities are largely connected to the SD. The agony of Golob’s government has entered a new phase, prompting the SDS party under the leadership of Janez Janša to announce the filing of an interpellation against the entire government. The question arises whether we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the transitional left, as former President Borut Pahor recently assessed…

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