By: Franci Kindlhofer
It seems to me as if it was yesterday, when on the evening of April 22nd, 1990, we sat together with Dr Jože Pučnik in the office of the then SDSS and eagerly awaited the results of the second round of the presidential elections. Of all those present, Pučnik himself was the most relaxed. No one dared to think about the possibility that Pučnik would not win.
How could Slovenians refuse this honourable and, in those times, responsible, in fact, fatal task to a man who spent seven years in communist prisons because of his honesty and openness, then had to create a new existence abroad and returned after twenty years, intellectually and morally intact, onto the public stage of this nation. This is what Janko Lorenci wrote in the editorial of Jože Pučnik’s booklet, which was published before the 1990 elections.
We soon realised that our voters are more strongly poisoned with communist theory and mentality. After all, this exercise was repeated in the two following presidential elections in 1992 and 1997. This gave Comrade Kučan enough time to secure the red fiefdoms of his comrades. Unfortunately, the left-wing line of Kučan’s presidential successors has been preserved to this day. This was also expressed in the careful attempts of small cosmetic corrections of the current president, Borut Pahor. If not, all actions corresponded exactly to Kučan’s norms, he received stonings from his former ideological relatives.
During this year’s parliamentary elections on March 24th, when Robert Golob’s Gibanje Svoboda party, drawn a win from a magic hat, I realised that since April 22nd, 1990, when voters humiliated one of our greatest Slovenians, Jože Pučnik, the blind have not all looked yet.
Slovenia urgently needs a president who will try to reduce this thirty-year deficit. His main instrument for this is the word. He must constantly appeal to people and remind them of things that are important to society. This includes a correct and serious attitude towards the past, as well as indicating the direction for a modern, just society, which does not see in all unpleasant matters only problems, but challenges that must be solved courageously. Every society is dynamic and constantly subject to new influences from within and without. The president must instil courage and self-confidence in the citizens, but also point out the limits and point out modesty.
He must speak openly about our past history, follow the truth, while keeping in mind that people must preserve their pride. Every individual is important. I like Drago Jančar’s idea:
“If we want to understand something about this period, we have to see and think about individual human destiny. And the intertwining of human destinies.” (The Dark Side of the Moon).
With the number of candidates for the president of the republic announced so far, one gets the feeling that some of them have no feeling for it or an idea of what is connected with such an office. I do not even see the President of the Republic of Slovenia as just a functionary. For me, that would be a mission. If I were to compare the country to an intact family – mother, father, children and grandparents – I would say that the children are the citizens, the parents are the government that makes a living, and the grandparents are the ones who have time to do things that they make life easier, with their many years of experience they help to overcome some problems more easily, they have a calming effect in the family. They care about stability. So, they have the office of President.
During presentations and debates, the candidates like to make promises that they would do all the good even in areas that are the government’s task and that they themselves, as the president of the country, do not have any authority for these matters. Likewise, many people demonstrate a political openness to all sides and a willingness to accept any idea, regardless of where it comes from. A candidate who has a solid spiritual structure, rich life experiences, must also possess enough self-confidence to openly tell people what he thinks is wrong in society. It is equally important to be open to new impulses if they are acceptable and useful. But he must always be ready for a public and open discussion, even if it is not pleasant for him personally.
I will not waste words about the current candidates, because they may take revenge on me. What if I still apply for the spot myself?
Some are already talking about candidate inflation. No problem, everyone has the right to test their knowledge, popularity and more. Let’s remember the times when we had only one candidate, and we pioneers went around the village urging people to go to the polls to see how the party’s candidate was successful, even if he would have won by a single vote.