By Gašper Blažič
In the year and a half, there have been several changes in the composition of the current government, with some ministers forced to leave (such as Agriculture Minister Irena Šinko). Some ministerial positions are still vacant, but information about new ministers is causing at least surprise, if not ridicule.
Lately, Jure Lebno has been mentioned as a possible new minister, who is, in fact, the “father” of Golob’s current party, as he was the president and founder of the legal predecessor of the present Gibanje Svoboda. However, it seems that plans are different; the behind-the-scenes puppeteers have decided to leave the stubborn Prime Minister Robert Golob in power for a while longer and to “squeeze” him to the fullest during this time. This is also being achieved through the personnel replenishment of the government, where Golob even considered reducing ministries for a while (mocking the referendum in which the opposition unsuccessfully tried to stop the expansion of state bureaucracy).
Controversial candidates for ministers
“Both candidates proposed by Prime Minister Robert Golob – Jože Novak for natural resources and space, and Franc Props for public administration, both from the quota of the Gibanje Svoboda party – are on the verge of a scandal,” wrote Bojan Požar today on the Požareport portal, hinting at undisclosed facts about both ministerial candidates. Jože Novak has previously become a state secretary at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Space, but now, instead of the previously mentioned Jure Lebno, he has been pushed forward by Minister of Infrastructure Alenka Bratušek, Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković, and left-wing political activist Nika Kovač. Allegedly, Novak ensured a “favourable business environment” for the regime. After all, he is not new to politics; he was already a state secretary at the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning twenty years ago when the ministry was led by Janez Kopač (LDS). As Požareport writes, both Kopač and Novak literally pressured Ljubljana city planners (at that time, Danica Simšič from the SD led MO Ljubljana) to eventually succumb to the pressure – to build new apartments near the abandoned quarry in Kamna Gorica, Ljubljana. The project was financed with money from the later failed Factor Bank, associated with LDS. The investor, Metrokras, later came into the ownership of Banja Luka native Jelena Sladojević, who is said to be a friend and colleague of Dijana Đuđić, whom Slovenian mainstream media used as cannon fodder against SDS just over five years ago. And now, one of the actors in this dirty story of land use change in favour of private business interests is supposed to become the Minister for Natural Resources and Space. Truly incredible. Especially since Novak immediately became the director of the Housing Fund shortly after the successful completion of the mentioned housing project.
The story of the new Minister of Public Administration – a position supposed to be taken over by the lesser-known MP from the Gibanje Svoboda, Franc Props, after the resignation of Sanja Ajanović Hojnik, who returned to her previous job in the state administration – is indeed scandalous. Props was formerly the head of the Administrative Unit Litija. “However, people who know Franc Props better than non-investigative journalists say quite differently: that he is ‘very exciting and outrageously mean’. One former MP adds that due to his character traits, it is unclear how Props will be able to negotiate with administrative units and public sector unions at all. Well, that Props will have a hard time negotiating is also suspected by some politicians from Golob’s government coalition,” writes Požar. Well, the main twist in this story is the fact that Props was once the director of the manager of residential complexes SPL and was practically driven out of there.
Is it a deliberately set trap for Golob?
All this is supposed to mean new nails in Golob’s political coffin. Former Minister of Internal Affairs Tatjana Bobnar and former police director Boštjan Lindav have already further undermined Golob, especially after Sova director Joško Kadivnik responded to Golob’s favour and filed a criminal complaint against Bobnar and Lindav. Allegedly, they were accused of disclosing classified information while testifying in the closed (!) part of the investigative commission session. As Požareport writes, Kadivnik probably did not file this complaint on his own initiative but under pressure from Golob and his advisers, especially Vesna Vuković and Damir Črnčec. This implies the politicisation of Sova and indirectly acknowledges Golob’s interference in the timing of the arrest of Russian spies, as stated by Bobnar and Lindav. Apparently, it is a tactically poorly executed manoeuvre, but the fact remains that the puppeteers have set a demand for Golob to get rid of both (Vuković and Črnčec) if he wants to survive politically.
Well, the fact is that Bobnar is now an adviser to the President of the Republic, Nataša Pirc Musar, who firmly stands by her side. In other words, Milan Kučan has long since distanced himself from Golob. This is further evidenced by the recent departure of Mojca Pašek Šetinc from the parliamentary group of the Gibanje Svoboda. As known, the mentioned MP, who belongs to the Šetinc clan and thus has ties to Kučan, was initially expelled from the party but decided to remain in the parliamentary group. However, consequences followed there as well, as she was excluded from all working bodies.
All of this has only strengthened the rumours that the political underworld has turned its back on Golob. However, according to some information, Golob is expected to remain in office until the European elections, which is another six months – a considerable period for him. A possible failure of the Gibanje Svoboda in these elections would be a reason for Golob to step down from both the party presidency and the government. This, however, does not necessarily mean new preliminary elections but certainly signifies the end of Golob’s political career. Golob’s government appointments are believed to contribute to this.