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Friday, March 1, 2024

The path to downfall, the search for a successor, and the repression of the rulers

By: Dr Metod Berlec

In this issue of the magazine Demokracija, we ascertain that it is time for preliminary parliamentary elections, as the ruling coalition (GS, SD, and Levica), led by the egocentric, choleric, and unpredictable Robert Golob, primarily focuses on internal matters.

 

With internal factional struggles and settling scores with the opposition, dissenting voices, and independent media that do not align with their preferences, Slovenia is being led in a completely wrong direction. Toward collapse. Literally into bankruptcy. On the website of the Fiscal Council of the Republic of Slovenia, it can be read that the state budget had a “deficit of (-1.120 million EUR) in the first ten months of 2023”. “Movements in the state budget during the first ten months were worse than in the same period last year. /…/ The realisation in the first ten months confirms the Fiscal Council’s assessment of the continuation of unrealistic budget planning.” The words of the President of the Fiscal Council, Davorin Kračun, during the discussion on the amended budget proposal for 2025 in the Finance Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia last Friday were also very significant. He warned that the planning in the submitted documents is “deficient and does not inspire confidence due to the adoption of additional measures and their changes during the consideration of the document”. He mentioned the introduction and subsequent abolition of the solidarity contribution for flood recovery and the government’s decision regarding the harmonisation of social transfers and salaries… According to him, the government should present the public finance effects of these measures, but it has not done so, making the “budget documents irrelevant.” “Such conduct by the government is unacceptable and inappropriate from the perspective of credible budget planning.” Due to inadequate documentation, the Fiscal Council could not even prepare an assessment of compliance with fiscal rules.

The above-described public finance criticisms regarding the government’s operation are not an exception, but more often than not, they seem to be the rule. We are confronted with a government whose main motto is higher taxes, additional unnecessary bureaucracy (such as the recently introduced complex recording of employees’ working hours), highly inappropriate handling of illegal migrations, resulting in an increased crime rate in the country, systematic undermining of the significance of Slovenia’s independence, and even the recent illegal seizure of livestock. It is as if we are in 1949. To make matters worse, the government is led by a person (recently, Luka Mesec due to the prime minister’s sick leave) who has already largely sawn off the branch on which he sits with chaotic and incompetent governance (aided by “fatal women”). Even with a ministerial purge within the government and the Gibanje Svoboda party. Within the transitional left, led by the last party leader and the first president of the republic, Milan Kučan, there is a frantic search for his successor as the prime minister. Candidates mentioned for this role include Zoran Janković, Stojan Petrič, and Alenka Bratušek. One of these three or possibly someone else could replace him as a kind of “technical prime minister”. There is also the idea of breaking up the Gibanje Svoboda, which will likely happen sooner or later as it is considered an instant party. With this, Golob will be forced to resign since he will no longer have a majority in the National Assembly unless he does so himself earlier. According to Bojan Požar, he is already looking for a way out of the situation. It is reported that he may test whether former president of LDS and prime minister Anton Rop would replace him in the role of prime minister. On one hand, Golob enjoys being the prime minister, attending state receptions and conferences with Tina Gaber; on the other hand, he is getting fed up with it all as he is now being investigated by the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, with the consent of the last party leader. Money does not seem to be a concern for him, as he has more than enough.

However, the majority of members of the ruling coalition think differently; they have no desire for preliminary elections as public opinion is slowly tilting towards the centre-right. Towards the opposition led by SDS and Janez Janša. Only elections can bring about a different political balance in the National Assembly. That is why members of the Gibanje Svoboda will easily bid farewell to Golob as long as the current coalition remains intact, securing their well-paid parliamentary positions.

Despite the observed disintegration, as recently noted by Janez Janša, the repression from centres of power, using well-established methods of abusing state institutions and mainstream media, will continue to target SDS and the few independent media outlets (such as Nova24TV, Demokracija…) that are not under their control. Undoubtedly, he is right, as demonstrated by the scandalous conviction of our colleague Marko Puš in court.

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