By: Mitja Iršič
NSi party shook up the political landscape on the right by announcing that it no longer wants to join the coalition led by SDS president Janez Janša. The decision was probably influenced by two things – first, of course, it is about clear political opportunism and putting aside long-term visions in favour of short-term crumbs that would fly off the mighty iron table of the newly emerging thousand-year socialist Reich. But the decision-makers in NSi certainly do not all think that way. Some sincerely think that by rejecting Janša, they will achieve a breakthrough. In this case, it is a fundamental misunderstanding between them and the voters. The political fringes of the right want to rationalise and apply the cemented ratio of 60:40, which exists in Slovenia for clear historical reasons, to the character and work of Janez Janša.
In Slovenia, there are political legalities that look like they will exist for quite a few generations, if not permanently. One rule is that for every 10 Slovenians, we will find four staunch leftists, two centre leftists, two centre rightists, and two who are somewhere in between, with a moderate to predominantly affinity for socialist ideas. Because this social trait is fundamentally tribalistic, irrational, and, for a good part of the time after 1945, even murderously cultivated, it is impossible to eradicate it by rationalising, isolating, and eliminating it.
Anže Logar showed how pointless the attack on the champion of the right to find new votes is. The worldly, connecting, polite, rhetorically excellent candidate of the right lost to the arrogant, self-sufficient, offensive and, to many people, antipathetic candidate of the left, who, on top of it all, became entangled with answers about her husband’s corporate affairs. He lost solely because he represented the right. Not because he represented Janez Janša, because he did not – he represented himself. The voice of the people, the media and the rest of the civil society machinery could not convince him that he is in fact Janša’s replacement. He maintained his independent attitude to the end.
Well, he lost. Because he is right-wing – also with the support of NSi. Just as Pučnik lost, and Brezigar and Peterle, and just as Ivo Boscarol would lose, even if he donates another 100 million euros to the state – only because he showed an affinity for right-wing ideas in the past. And this is precisely the ultima ratio of resistance to the right – Slovenian indoctrinated left-wing voters and increasingly extreme and intolerant left-wing parties are ready to accept only one type of right-winger: those who are right-wingers in name only.
I think that NSi understands this well. Therefore, if it begins to cooperate with the currently deformed version of the Slovenian socialist left, then it will take a lease on the fact that it will cease to exist as a right-wing party. What does that mean? What is the core of right-wing ideas anyway? Traditional family (some will say Christian) values. Slim country. Less taxes. Less bureaucracy. More personal freedom. Absolute right to expression. All these are the antipodes of Golob’s coalition.
How does NSi imagine a theoretical (coalition or non-coalition) cooperation with the current conglomerate of more or less far-left parties that lower wages, raise taxes, and think about workers’ self-management? How can a right-wing party find itself in such a quagmire? Much like if the Levica party would find itself in a neoliberal Singapore. It does not work. In this case, we cannot talk about cooperation of the partnership for development type from 2004 – at that time the Social Democrats were still a completely normal social democratic party. Today they are cousins of the Levica party. Even they will admit that it is impossible to cooperate with the right. However, if they – together with the liberals and the left – cooperated with NSi, that says more about NSi than about the coalition.
In the end, NSi will have to forget its manic obsession with Janša and devote itself to honest introspection. Where are we going? What do we want? What do our voters want? They will quickly realise that their voters want the diametric opposite of what Golob’s coalition wants. And that maybe a single director position in a state-owned company, and some further crumbs from the table of a thousand-year socialist Reich, will not be worth the fact that they will then suffer the tragic fate of SLS. In these difficult times, the Slovenian right needs consolidation, not division. Only together can they explain to voters that people will live better under centre-right coalitions.