By: Sara Rančigaj
When the Social Democrats, led by Tanja Fajon, decided to collect signatures for the referendum, they were faced with a critical response within the party. Delo reports that the former Minister of Defence, Ljubica Jelušič, who knows the field of defence very well, was the first to criticise the decision of the SD leadership. Samo Bevk, the chairman of the Committee of the Defence from the ranks of the SD party, and Matjaž Han, long-time leader of the SD parliamentary group, are also critical of the decision to not invest in the army. According to Bevk, the Slovenian army urgently needs updates and better equipment, and the referendum itself would only politicise this issue. Han believes that this is not the time to promote the party by opposing the investments in the military, but rather, a time to support good policies. “The good things that the government proposes and accepts should be supported, regardless of the fact that Janez Janša is in power,” said Han, who was previously also critical of the infamous member of the Levica party, Miha Kordiš, who called the SD MPs “collaborators,” precisely because of their vote on the matter of investing in the military.
The Social Democrats believed that they would strengthen their party by electing Tanja Fajon as President of the party. As we have previously written, the SD party has already begun to lose its support at the municipal level. We have also already reported on the fact that Fajon is losing some of the strong mayors, and this time, the opposing within the party began inside the very headquarters. The matter in question was the collecting of signatures for a referendum on the financing of the army, which was not to the liking of one part of the party that knows the actual work of the army, and to those who support good government policies, regardless of the fact that the right, or Janez Janša, is in power.
According to Delo, the disagreements in the party were caused by the aforementioned collecting of signatures for calling a referendum regarding the act on investments in the army. Those in the party who are familiar with the so-called military profession were against the referendum. Individual complaints within the party thus emerged when the party still went on to collect signatures for calling a referendum on investments in the army, which the National Assembly ruled inadmissible last week. While the SD party, with its radical orientation, together with the Levica party, submitted more than 28,000 signatures to the National Assembly, in order to start the referendum procedures, the former Minister of Defence from the ranks of the SD party, Ljubica Jelušič, also defended the Slovenian soldiers.
Han believes that the good things the government is proposing should be supported
“In these difficult times, I believe we really need to think about whether it’s really worth promoting a party just for the sake of the promotion,” Han said. He believes that every matter should be thought through, and political prestige should be set aside. “The good things that the government accepts and proposes should be supported, regardless of the fact that Janez Janša is in power,” he added, confirming the words he already said once before to the MP Miha Kordiš in the National Assembly when Kordiš called the SD deputies “collaborators.”
SD MP Samo Bevk, who is the chairman of the Committee on the Defence in the National Assembly, also disagrees with opposing the investing in the army, which has not received any investment in the last ten years. “The Slovenian Army urgently needs modernisation and better equipment. The referendum will mostly just politicise this issue, even though in reality, we would need an in-depth and sober discussion, not just some populist story. The SD party must pursue an independent policy and adhere to it, and not politically adjust on a daily basis,” Bevk said.
The SD party should distance itself from the daily political chasing of shadows and fighting with the windmills
Former SD party president Igor Lukšič believes that SD should build something that it previously already had, and still has bits of – the ability to govern. “We should move away from the daily political chasing of shadows and the fighting with windmills, into setting up a serious alternative to the march of conservatism in society and politics,” he wrote. He explained that the security of the state is a serious issue that requires a strong stance and a clear articulation of the position in this regard, and the SD party has already chosen its position here, as it has led the defence department in the past.
Political scientist Miro Haček wrote for Delo that under the leadership of the SD’s Department of Defence, some of the policies have already been adopted in the past and will now be implemented. “Therefore, opposing something you advocated a few months ago and thus joining your political competition is unusual,” he explained. He went on to say that he believes that copying the decisions of the Levica party makes the SD party seem fake and makes the Levica party the original. Due to Levica’s ideology and sharpness of their ideas, however, the SD party would not be able to compete with them. “We should cover the space that is more in the centre, or the centre-left, where the SD already was,” he added.
Fajon responded to the accusations, saying that this is not the right time for investments in the army
While the military has been severely underfunded for the past ten years, Fajon responded to the opposing opinions that have formed within the party, by saying that the SD party would otherwise support the investment, but at the moment, it sees too much uncertainty in the society. Regardless of the fact that the government has also allocated funds for healthcare, economic aid, job preservation and development, in addition to the army, Fajon insists on the radicalisation and unity with the Levica party, saying that the army is not important at the moment. “At the height of the epidemic and in the midst of the economic crisis, the procurement of arms is not our priority,” she said. However, the epidemic seems to have become Fajon’s tool for gaining political points on the left pole, as until a few months ago, she was not concerned with the epidemic at all, and even supported anti-government protests. Judging by the response, the prominent members of the Social Democrats also disagree with the aforementioned politicisation of ideas and the party constantly changing its mind.