By: Gašper Blažič
“Povežimo Slovenijo (Connect Slovenia)” is actually the name of a new political movement that officially presented itself this Tuesday (January 26th). This otherwise wide array of parties, lists, and individuals has shown the ambition to bring more integration, the mentality of cooperation and the search for common ground into the Slovenian political space. Somehow in the style of what the President of the Republic Borut Pahor has been saying all along. The conceptual basis of this civil society platform is not entirely clear, as new non-parliamentary parties of various ideological profiles are welcomed to join in the future, but obviously the main purpose is to establish a project coalition that will somehow overcome the current proverbial Slovene political culture, according to which every Slovene has his/her own party.
The idea is not bad. That has to be acknowledged. Also because a civil society platform was formed first, which does not hide political ambitions and with its name also addresses some similar civil initiatives, such as Prebudimo Slovenijo (Awaken Slovenia), Za pravično Slovenijo (For a Just Slovenia), Assembly for the republic, for families, etc. As well as some non-parliamentary parties (or their starts), such as Glas za otroke in družine (Voice for children and families), Domovinska liga (Homeland league), krščanski socialisti (Christian socialists), etc. The SLS and NLS have already joined the movement, as well as Zeleni Slovenije and some local lists. So it is about stimulating dormant potentials, which could be called the effect of crossing logs – the logs burn together, if you scatter them apart, they go out. And in such a case, many a citizen who is not addressed by established parties would choose to take part in the election.
One of the parliamentary parties also found itself in this group, namely the SMC, which is probably aware that it will no longer cross the parliamentary threshold since its support was withdrawn by the “great magician” Gregor Golobič. And the core of the problem lies right here: in the old networks. Namely, the latter has a decisive influence on the events in the elections. Ever since the fall, when we were able to see how fraud with electoral votes (USA!) looks like in practice, the last illusions that our elections are completely fair and that all political options have exactly the same possibilities have fallen. And the Slovene electorate is characterised by a high level of abstinence as well as sensitivity to various tempting messianic promises and instant solutions offered by the Levica party, for example. And, of course, the strings are pulled in the background by masters who are very well educated in the field of mass psychology, a part of which was also revealed by Dr Zdenko Roter in the book “Fallen Masks”, where he even revealed some “uncles from the background” by name. After all, Milan Kučan is not a retired official, but a former head of the commission for psychological and propaganda activities. And all parties that do not belong to the sphere of interest of the transitional left will have to pay attention to this.
Of course, I will be a bit rude here again in relation to the SMC, which was the winning party in the 2014 elections. However, this is mainly because this option was “adopted” by Gregor Golobič, who, after great electoral success, first took care of the removal of Peter Jamnikar, who was in fact the main architect of the party network in the field. Golobič’s showdown with Jamnikar was not the first. In 2002, at the LDS congress, Jamnikar received the most support in his candidacy for the party’s secretary general, thus eliminating his rival from Golobič’s circle. However, the opponent was quickly very resourceful by opening a new job at the party with the powers of the previous secretary, while Jamnikar became just an insignificant official. Four years after the great success of the SMC, the “great magician” directed forces into the LMŠ party, which did not experience such success, but at the time it was – of course with the remark that most parties clung to the exclusionary logic “definitely not with Janša” – enough to form a government under the leadership of the then mayor of Kamnik, who a year prior entered the list of champions in the category of a very special athletic discipline: throwing in the towel. Recently, Karl Viktor Erjavec wanted to surpass him. With this, he certainly dug a political grave, because the “great magician” does not forgive such mistakes. Namely, all indications show that the DeSUS parliamentary group may even give up its support for the DeSUS leadership and leave the party – perhaps they could be the first to informally represent the interests of the Povežimo Slovenijo movement?
According to the movement’s representatives, it is visible that they have a good intention and are trying to alleviate the intolerance we have witnessed recently, when slogans in the style of “death to Janšism” are growing like mushrooms after the rain, and SMC and DeSUS MPs are under pressure that if they do not support KUL, they are traitors. On the other hand, Prime Minister Janez Janša showed great flexibility when he successfully invited SMC and NSi to the coalition, despite the fact that relations between the parties have not been exemplary in recent years. Some steps towards cooperation have already been taken, and the Povežimo Slovenijo movement is clearly proposing to upgrade this with a model that is otherwise valid in some municipalities, where parties and lists of different ideological orientations agree on joint support for local projects. It would be interesting to see if the movement would be joined by Emil Rojc, the mayor of Ilirska Bistrica, who was recently expelled from the SD party, and who has the talent to unite for the common good.
It is certainly commendable that the Povežimo Slovenijo movement offers an alternative that does not resort to trendy anti-Janšism. In doing so, it also threw down the gauntlet to political cyclists, who will have to say who they will connect with and what their real interest is. However, if the future joint list of candidates of Povežimo Slovenijo manages to bring a few MPs to the National Assembly and increase voter turnout, this will be a big step. Even if some of the current spring parties were pinched off some percentage.
Gašper Blažič is a journalist of the magazine Demokracija.