Some of the political parties which were in power for the last two years, and the part of civil society that favours them, have been protesting on bicycles for the past three weeks, against the current government, mainly for ideological reasons and unverified alleged corrupt actions by government officials, responsible for procuring medical safety equipment. Unfortunately, these accusations were largely fuelled by the media, which created the “masks affair,” nullified the efforts of all government and other services, and further solidified the sharp ideological polarization in our society, warned the Assembly for the Republic.
Assembly for the Republic is a civil organization that unites free and democratically-minded individuals, including those who were victims of the totalitarian communist system, others, who played an important part In the formation of a democratic social order thirty years ago and after that, and young people who are aware that a democratic, free and plural society is an ongoing process.
Some of the reputable European media published certain information that does not correspond to the real situation in Slovenia
Members of the Assembly for the Republic are surprised and concerned to note that during the COVID-19 epidemic, some prominent European media outlets (Deutsche Welle, Croatia’s Nacional, Italy’s L’Espresso and British The Guardian, The Economist) published information about the Slovenian government and its prime minister Janez Janša, which do not correspond to the real situation in Slovenia. “Due to the left-liberal government’s coalition falling apart right before the outbreak of the pandemic, Slovenian politics was faced with a decision: either we would have to have early elections, or a new government would form, led by the relative winner of the last parliamentary elections – the SDS party, which is led by Janša. Reason and responsibility prevailed, and the new government took power at a time when the first serious virus infections were recorded.”
“In just a few weeks, the government had the situation – in terms of organization, health, legislation, and measures in the field of the economy, completely under control, placing Slovenia at the top of the list of the countries which have successfully faced the pandemic, as acknowledged by the diplomatic corps living and working in Slovenia,” the Assembly for the Republic pointed out, adding that the government contained the epidemic without having to declare a state of war or emergency, without enforcing curfew or prohibiting people from leaving their homes. Namely, it used the mildest possible measures, but introduced them at the right time. “The parliament has always acted appropriately and made the necessary decisions. All key laws for tackling the epidemic were passed by more than a two-third majority of the MPs present, some even without a vote against. The government acted on the basis of the Communicable Diseases Act, which was adopted 14 years ago already.”
“Thus, it is all the more incomprehensible and far from the truth, to claim that the government is exploiting the pandemic to establish an autocratic system, curtailing media freedom and that it has acted corruptly in procuring the protective equipment for the fight against COVID-19, when the entire world public knows what the fight for these goods was like on the world market,” they believe. Like other countries, the Slovenian government is also gradually releasing the measures that have restricted the movement and certain activities of citizens since mid-March. All measures and the lifting of the measures are very similar to those in neighboring and other European countries.
The accusations were also largely fueled by the media, which created the “masks affair”
For the past three weeks, some of the political parties which were in power for the last two years, and the part of civil society that favours them, have been protesting on bicycles, against the current government, mainly for ideological reasons and unverified alleged corrupt actions by government officials, responsible for procuring medical safety equipment. “Unfortunately, these accusations were largely fuelled by the media, which created the “masks affair,” nullified the efforts of all government and other services, and further solidified the sharp ideological polarization in our society. Many critical observers and part of the civil society cannot help but get the impression that this is a planned and coordinated unfounded attack on the current government, which began with an orchestrated media attack here in Slovenia and was followed by the publication of articles in foreign media, supported by certain academics, and then extended to the street protests on bicycles, despite the prohibition of public gathering. ”
Aware of the democratic standards in the European Union, the members of the Assembly for the Republic want the discussion and presentation of the Slovenian political situation abroad to be done in a comprehensive and fair manner. They still remember how the Deutsche Welle represented a rare voice of truth about Tito’s Yugoslavia in the former totalitarian times and are grateful for it. “Thirty years ago, we were delighted to see that the democratic processes in Slovenia were understood and supported by key European media and politicians. For a good understanding among the countries and the people in Europe, we believe that it is crucial that even today, the political situation in each country is addressed in a multifaceted and comprehensive manner. However, we cannot ignore the fact that in the transition countries, there are still remnants of the old mentality and ways of working. Therefore, it is difficult to just accept the attempts to make former defenders of the totalitarian system seem like the defenders of democracy today. Unfortunately, these attempts are present in the Slovenian media, academic, non-governmental, and, of course, political space.”
Therefore, the Assembly for the Republic urged the European media outlets and the political decision-makers to explore and study the complex political situations in individual countries within the EU, in dialogue with the affected parties, while also taking into account all partners, before creating prejudices and accusations against certain individuals or governments. “We are convinced that this is the only right path for creative and solidary coexistence in the EU, which is what every sincere and honest democrat wants. In the spirit of this, we felt called to react to the situation and send our regards.”