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Monday, February 6, 2023

Ideological exclusivism like never before

By: Matevž Tomšič

A few months after the new government took office, we can say that this is the most ideologically profiled and exclusivist government we have had since 1990. Its range of ideas is significantly narrower and more radical than that of its predecessors.

The government coalitions, which were predominantly right oriented, could not afford any excessive ideologizing, as they were always dependent on one of the centrist or even left-wing parties. Thus, the coalition DEMOS, which won the first democratic elections in 1990, was very diverse in terms of representation, as it united conservatives, liberals, and social democrats. The governments under the leadership of Janez Janša have always included the DeSUS party, which was fundamentally more left-oriented; his second government also had the Citizen List, and his third government had the Party of the Modern Centre, both of which were centrist. Thus, any attempt at excessive ideologization led to conflicts within the coalition, so the partners had to restrain themselves at least to some extent in this sense.

However, previous governments with a dominant left component were also significantly less ideological. During the reign of the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia, its president, and long-time Prime Minister, Janez Drnovšek, always made sure that his governments looked balanced. Thus, some right-wing party was always included in them, even when this was not absolutely necessary to secure a parliamentary majority (after the 2000 elections). He wanted to act as a centrist leader, so he showed how he is able to work with partners of different political colours. Even the governments of Pahor and Cerar, which were fairly homogeneous in an ideological sense, did not act so ideologically; this is mainly due to the two Prime Ministers, who are essentially fairly moderate personalities (Miro Cerar explicitly avoided left-right positioning). And even Marjan Šarec tried to avoid the fact that his government would appear too left-wing, so he tried to attract the centre-right Nova Slovenija party and not the extremist Levica party (which, at least in a formal sense, remained outside the government). In the meantime, Robert Golob included the latter in his coalition, although he would not have had to (he would have had a majority in parliament even without it).

An important reason for ideological radicalisation is the role of left-wing non-governmental organisations and their influence on government policy. Organisations such as the March 8th Institute and various self-proclaimed “people’s assemblies” (consisting of former bicycle protesters) act as informal coalition partners. They are considered the most responsible for the fact that the previous ruling coalition lost the elections. Therefore, after the elections, they presented their bill – part of which is also the membership of the Levica party in the government. Since the largest government party, Gibanje Svoboda, is a completely artificial creation, without its own political profile, the “colour, smell and taste” are given to the government coalition by its radical leftist wing, whose influence is much greater than would be expected given its electoral (failure) success. To this we must add the self-possessed character of the Prime Minister, who does not tolerate opposition, and everything must be subordinated to him. The latter adopted the ideological optics and discourse of his left-wing partners in order to settle accounts with his opponents.

The expression of all the above is the demonisation of all those who criticise the rule of “freedom”, labelling them as “fascists”, “dark forces”, and the like. Until now, this has been the mannerism of the media, civil society and street activists of the radical left, whose exclusivist mentality is similar to that of the communist revolutionaries of 1945. It is problematic that such a state of mind has also moved into government chambers.


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