By: Sara Bertoncelj / Nova24tv
“In this sense, for the media outlets that are part of the political machinery of the Slovenian left, it is very appropriate, and they consider it fair, to report less on a competitive project that targets voters in the middle – that is why they report so infrequently about the Let’s Connect Slovenia political alliance, but so much about Robert Golob, the new candidate of the left,” explained Dr Borut Rončević, when we asked him why there are such staggering differences in the reporting on the Let’s Connect Slovenia political alliance and the Freedom Movement. And we are not talking only about the quantity, but also the content of the reports. While the media like to use superlatives when talking about Golob, they mainly focused on points that could be highlighted as controversial in the Let’s Connect Slovenia movement’s programme – for example, the fact that they will also address anti-vaxxers. The official spokesman for the Let’s Connect Slovenia alliance, Marko Balažic, pointed out that their coalition is looking for opportunities for people to cooperate and not for exclusion – but they are certainly also urging people to behave responsibly.
A few days ago, the parties Concretely (Konkretno), Slovenian People’s Party (Slovenska ljudska stranka), Andrej Čuš and the Greens of Slovenia (Andrej Čuš in Zeleni Slovenije), New People’s Party of Slovenia (Nova ljudska stranka Slovenije) and New Social Democracy (Novi socialdemokrati) officially joined forces and signed an agreement on their joint appearance at this year’s parliamentary elections, in a political alliance called Let’s Connect Slovenia (Povežimo Slovenijo). Their programme starting points are focused on three principles – what is good for the economy, for the people, and for nature. They are sure that they will get a good result at the elections, the Slovenian Press Agency reported. In a press statement made at the official signing of the agreement, the President of the Slovenian People’s Party, Marjan Podobnik, said that they want to create the kind of Slovenia that was voted for in the plebiscite on independence. The President of the party Concretely and the current Minister of the Economy, Zdravko Počivalšek, emphasised that members of the alliance have already shown that they are able to overcome the differences and that they are all focused on the future. President of the Greens of Slovenia, Andrej Čuš, pointed out that the environmental policies of the last 30 years were not focused on people looking for common solutions. President of the New People’s Party of Slovenia, Franc Kangler, assessed that the political standstill that is present before the elections is harming the economy and the citizens. And President of the New Social Democracy, Andrej Magajna, said that the signing of the agreement reminded him of the signing of the Democratic Opposition of Slovenia, also known as DEMOS (the coalition of the centre-right parties which won the first multiparty election in the country), which happened 30 years ago. He also added that the social democrats are adding new colours to the movement. Marko Balažic became the official spokesperson of the alliance, who said that we have expelled reason from Slovenia and have started to prioritise evil.
And while the mainstream media are quite fond of not only reporting on but also cheering for Robert Golob, the new candidate of the political left and his Freedom Movement (Gibanje svoboda), the opposite trend can be seen in relation to the Let’s Connect Slovenia alliance. “The Let’s Connect Slovenia coalition is openly addressing anti-vaxxers. This might pay off for them, but they might also have to pay a high price for it,” the newspaper Večer wrote a few days ago, discussing the fact that Podobnik surprised by saying that the Let’s Connect Slovenia movement would also try to address the anti-vaxxers. Podobnik allegedly also confirmed that candidates who oppose the mandatory vaccination against covid-19 and the mandatory vaccination of children would also run on the political alliance’s list. According to Večer, it is quite unusual that the movement will address this specific group of 800 thousand people, as the doctor Tina Bergant is also part of this alliance. It should be noted here that the number 800 thousand is extremely exaggerated, as according to expert estimates, the electorate of people who are opposing vaccination amounts to a maximum of 300 thousand people. “It is very clear that the media in Slovenia are not balanced, and it has already been proven by several studies prepared by the Faculty of Media. The media is thus, in a way, a tool in the election campaign, and the fact is that we have been in a fairly strong election campaign for some time now – although we do not know for sure what the concrete coalitions will be, and which parties will create joint lists, especially on the left,” explained Dr Borut Rončević, professor at the School of Advanced Social Studies.
The left part of the political space has a problem with the Let’s Connect Slovenia alliance – so far, they have always managed to win over the centre voters, and now, Golob is also encroaching on the electorate of the so-called Constitutional Arch Coalition
We might not know yet who will appear on joint lists on the left, but it is already known who will have a joint list in the centre – the Let’s Connect Slovenia political alliance. Rončević said that all relevant polls that have been published so far showed that the Let’s Connect Slovenia alliance is an important political force and that they are almost sure to enter the National Assembly. Which, of course, does not mean that they will definitely get into parliament, but at the moment, it seems likely. The left part of the political space, therefore, has a problem, because the central voters were usually chased by the Slovenian left, and they thus somehow appropriated the central space – which will be a bit more difficult to do this time. What is also a problem for them is that now they have a new quasi-central political project – Robert Golob’s Freedom Movement. “The analyses that we have done so far show that the current support for Golob – to put it simply – comes from two sources. One source is left-wing voters, with Golob heavily encroaching upon the left-wing electorate of the so-called Constitutional Arch Coalition (the left-wing parties of the current opposition), and the rest, which is actually the only added value that Golob brings to this political fight, is the support he is getting from the undecided voters – which is not guaranteed,” Rončević said, adding that at the moment, Golob does have some of the latter, but it is likely that support from this electorate will not be much higher than it is at the moment. However, this support can, of course, go down very quickly.
The transitional left-wing media would drown the parties of the Let’s Connect Slovenia alliance in the river Sava if they could
“We respect the rule of law, and we also respect the professionals and the facts they present about the epidemic; however, we also understand the views of some, who – with the flood of contradictory information – have reservations about getting vaccinated,” said Magajna, who also explained that that is what Podobnik meant. Magajna then added that one day before the official signing of the agreement of coalition partners in the Union Hall, journalists were not interested in anything other than whether Počivalšek would sell the “silverware” – the destinations of the Sava Tourism (Sava Turizem) companies to Hungarians, or rather, whether he would give all of this to Orban, following the “instructions of Prime Minister Janez Janša”. They were disappointed when Počivalšek told them that the state would consider enforcing the pre-emption right – as they obviously already had an idea about what type of news they could fill their media outlets with in the next three months. Magajna also pointed out that on the television station POP tv, they said that the Let’s Connect Slovenia alliance has a centre-right political orientation as if the alliance did not include the New Social Democracy, the Greens, and anyone else who does not lean to the right in the least – but apparently, the media has a strategy, similar to the one they had in the time of DEMOS, when they only exposed scandals and some “right-wing coloured performance.” “They are afraid that someone might accidentally reach a little too far towards the centre-left. This is a serious fight for the electoral base,” concluded the President of the New Social Democracy.
There is no reason for Let’s Connect Slovenia to reject people based on their decision to not get vaccinated
“We want to connect Slovenia. Our list will certainly include the right and the left, conservatives and liberals, descendants of partisans and home guards, as well as vaccinated and unvaccinated. There are close to 800 thousand people who have not been vaccinated so far for various reasons. Among them are also many opponents of compulsory vaccination, especially compulsory vaccination of children against covid-19. There is no reason for a democratic and unifying movement, such as the Let’s Connect Slovenia alliance, to reject people because of their decision to not get vaccinated. For example, some people do not want to get vaccinated because some vaccines are said to use embryos of aborted children (AstraZeneca used a sample of an aborted embryo taken in 1973 in the Netherlands, and the cells then continued to proliferate in laboratories and continue to be used for many biotech products and medicines to this day), some because of previous bad experience or fear. However, we all encourage members and sympathisers of our alliance to respect the measures to help prevent the spread of the virus,” said Podobnik.
A person who hunts down imaginary fascists will find it very difficult to claim that they can also reach the right side of the political space
“In this sense, for the media outlets that are part of the political machinery of the Slovenian left, it is very appropriate, and they consider it fair, to report less on a competitive project that targets voters in the middle – that is why they report so infrequently about the Let’s Connect Slovenia political alliance, but so much about Robert Golob, the new candidate of the left,” Rončević also said, pointing out that he believes that the Let’s Connect Slovenia alliance is a positive political project that can make a quality contribution and offer something to the voters who do not want to choose one side or the other in this increasingly divided political space. Namely, a rather diverse central group gathered in the Let’s Connect Slovenia alliance. Thus, the newly created coalition certainly brings an added value to the Slovenian political space. Golob also wants to present himself as a centre actor, but he is not really a central political option, much less a right-win one – even though he himself said that he would go a little to the left and a little to the right. But someone who is chasing imaginary fascists who have not been present in this country since the end of World War II will find it very difficult to claim that they can also reach the right side of the political space. However, he did tactically establish a distinction between his movement and the Constitutional Arch Coalition, simply because of the undecided voters, who are quite disappointed with the Constitutional Arch Coalition. However, we can imagine that an actual coalition that would include Golob and the parties of the Constitutional Arch Coalition would be at least as problematic as the coalition led by Marjan Šarec.