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Monday, February 26, 2024

“Habemus” of Boštjan Poklukar

By: Dr Vinko Gorenak

Habemus papam, or in English We have a pope, is the beginning of the Latin liturgical text used to announce the new pope.

At Litostrojska Street 54 in Ljubljana, where the Interior Minister lives, no official or police chief will appear from the square balcony after Poklukar’s arrival in his old office and, of course, he will not announce that we have a new old Interior Minister, Poklukar.

Since I am writing this text before the election of Poklukar as Minister of the Interior, you may say that I am rushing things and wonder what if he is not elected and if he does not get 46 votes in the National Assembly. Of course, this can happen, but the chances are practically zero. If Robert Golob knew how to count millions of salary and prizes, he can also count up to 46.

Regardless of the dissatisfaction of the non-governmental organisations, as well as the dissatisfaction in the SD and the Levica parties, the parliamentary mathematics is quite clear. Of course, it may happen that individual members of the SD or the Levica will vote against, it is even more likely that during the voting someone will have to run an “urgent errand” or “urgently go to the toilet”, but this cannot practically prevent the election of Poklukar.

What is more important is how Poklukar will perform the duties of the Minister of the Interior. Tatjana Bobnar left the position of Minister of the Interior precisely because of Golob’s political pressure on her and the police, apparently, she also “cleaned” the police too slowly of the so-called cadres of Janez Janša.

So, why did Golob nominate Poklukar for Interior Minister? Of course, he wanted a better, faster, and more qualified “cleaner” in this place. Here is also the answer to the question why Golob did not choose someone else. He also had two police experts at his disposal, the current state secretary at the Ministry of the Interior, Dr Branko Lobnikar, who teaches future police experts at the university, as well as Dr Miroslav Žaberl, who wrote several articles and books that future police experts learn from. But the profession in the eyes of Golob apparently counts as much as last year’s snow. He did not choose a police expert, but the best “cleaner”.

But let’s return to the questioning of Poklukar in the National Assembly. He announced that he would fully support the construction of a career system in the police. I do not know if he even knows what that means. When we talk about the career system in the police, we naturally mean who can occupy which position in the police and under what conditions, from the police officer to the general director of the police.

But talk of the devil, on the one hand, Poklukar would build a career system in the police, and on the other hand, completely contradicting this, he announced that he would propose such legislative changes that the position of general director of the police could be occupied by “other experts” in addition to police officers. Years ago, as a member of the National Assembly, I commissioned a study on the topic of who in the EU countries can become the first police officer. The answer was clear, everywhere the first person in the police can become a police officer, only two countries also allowed “other experts” in this position, but in practice they do not enforce this.

What Poklukar intends to propose is therefore the antithesis of the career system in the police and unique in EU countries. We also know the career system in the prosecution organisation or in the judiciary. Only the prosecutor can become the first man of the prosecution and only the judge can become the first man of the judiciary. It is the same in the army, only a soldier can become the first man of the army. And rightly so. But why should it be any different in the police? Even during socialism, at least after 1988, only police officers were appointed as regional police chiefs.

I do not know if the best “cleaner” of the police is aware of his powers. He can nominate only the general director of the police, and there is a legally established concrete wall for his interventions in the police. Well, we are there. The best “cleaner” of the police according to Golob’s choice will have to choose the first performer of “cleaning”, which will be the general director of the police.

Therefore, it may not be the most naïve conclusion that Boštjan Poklukar knows that he will not find the right first executor of the “cleaning” of the police within the police, so he proposes the legal possibility for someone outside the police to occupy this position. Why should this not be the left-wing political activist Nika Kovač or perhaps the equally left-wing political activist Teja Jarc? The latter knows quite a bit about the police since her childhood, when her father explained to her what the police do.

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