By: Dr. Metod Berlec
We spoke with a former MP, former President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, and President of the Assembly for the Republic, France Cukjati about the results of the National Assembly elections, the work of the National Assembly, the government, and the war in Ukraine.
France Cukjati was born in 1943 in Šentgotard near Trojane. After completing his studies in civil engineering, he entered the Jesuits. He studied philosophy in Zagreb and theology in Frankfurt, and later, when he left the Jesuit community, he completed his studies in medicine in Ljubljana. At first, he worked as a general practitioner in the reverse clinics of Litostroj and Iskra, and then in the general clinic in Vrhnika, where he became the director of the Health Centre, and later a concessionary private doctor. He was also the first general secretary of the Slovenian Medical Association. In 2000, during Bajuk’s government, he held the position of State Secretary for Primary Health Care at the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia. He was first elected an MP of the Slovenian Democratic Party in 2000, and again in 2004, and 2008. In the period between 2004 and 2008, he was the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, and between 2008 and 2011, he was its Vice President. He was also the president of the SDS Council. He is the president of the Assembly for the Republic. In 2018, he published the book Slovenian images of evil.
DEMOKRACIJA: Mr. Cukjati, you are the president of the Assembly for the Republic. To begin with, let’s look at the results of the April parliamentary elections, which undoubtedly surprised with a great victory of the Gibanje Svoboda party. How do you interpret the outcome of this election? Did you analyse them in the Assembly for the Republic?
Cukjati: In two years, Janša’s government has demonstrated surprising success both at home and abroad. The cooperation of two left-wing and two centre-right parties has never been so fruitful for the country in the 30 years. But the voters are not so blind and stupid that they would not see and appreciate this, we told ourselves and hoped for a healthy judgment of the citizens.
But then came the sobering up. First of all, we were surprised how such a large number of voters from already established left-wing parties could be moved overnight to a completely new, unknown Gibanje Svoboda party. How is it possible to say to hundreds of thousands of voters of the SD, the Levica, Šarec’s party, and SAB, leave your party and vote for Golob? What is the system of such rapid and thorough brainwashing and who controls it? And what kind of voters fall so en masse for banally simple lies about Janša, Janšism, and dictatorship? We wonder if there really are so many sheep voters who blindly run from shepherd to shepherd, whom is determined again and again by the deep state through its media and journalists.
Perhaps the centre-right pole is too honest and too consistent to build persuasion of voters on facts, evidence, and the real content of political programmes. The majority of voters make decisions based on completely different motivations. Simple shouting of lies and sowing of hatred clearly convinces the Slovenian public more and faster than the search for the truth, peaceful proving, and hard work for the entire community.
DEMOKRACIJA: It is therefore obvious that the victory of the Gibanje Svoboda party was strongly contributed to by non-governmental organisations led by the March 8th Institute, which were quoted practically on a daily basis in the dominant media. This clearly involved left-wing NGOs.
Cukjati: Well, of course, more than ever before, it was about the obvious corruption of NGOs, the mainstream media, and the financial resources of the deep state. All criticism and all attacks on Janša’s government were carefully planned, all lies were consistently popularised by the media, and non-governmental organisations exposed themselves more than ever before as tools of the deep state, including trade unions, which for the most ulterior political motives opposed the lowering of taxes and the general increase of net labour wages.
DEMOKRACIJA: On the other hand, it seems to me that right-wing civil society was completely passive…
Cukjati: We cannot say that it was passive. Only the Slovenian media space is strongly, if not pathologically, unbalanced. The aggressive left-wing agenda controls 90 percent of the media space, and in its aggressiveness, it is not afraid of any lies or discredits. The parties of the political right are limited in their activities to substantive discussion, arguing their positions and operating in the environment of a higher political culture. You cannot expect right-wing civil society to burn effigies of left-wing politicians and shout “death to kučanism” or “death to golobism” on the road.
It seems that the Slovenian political public is divided like never before. Divided mainly regarding the culture of behaviour. Do you remember the demonstrative march of the right-wing civil society “For Life”, which, with its cultured and friendly performance, only drew attention to the lack of respect for unborn children, and experienced literal vulgar hysteria from the left-wing civil society. Obviously two worlds! And if the voters believe more to lies and deceptions and follow shouting and incitement to hatred than those who dedicate their pre-election campaign to serious social issues, then the nation will write its own judgment. But we cannot expect right-wing civil society to stoop to such a low level.
DEMOKRACIJA: How do you see the role of the Slovenian Roman Catholic Church in this? It can be seen that public opinion has completely pushed her into a corner…
Cukjati: Once it was pushed into a corner by the communist regime, today it is the media, and sometimes it just hides itself in a corner. Due to political correctness, it often stays silent when it should be speaking. Not so much the Church as an institution, but as individuals by whom the performance of the institution is judged. Look. Political, judicial, and media authorities often deliberately lie, steal, and kill, or discredit, exclude and disable. A true prophet should not be afraid to call out clearly and decisively: do not lie, do not steal, do not kill! Call out to entrepreneurs, teachers, journalists, judges, as well as MPs, Ministers, and even the Prime Minister.
DEMOKRACIJA: Will the synod on synodality help improve the position of the Church in Slovenia and in the world in general? On Wednesday, synod colleagues at the Slovenian Bishops’ Conference (SŠK) presented the national synodal final document…
Cukjati: I welcome the synod. Solving the problems in which the Church found itself requires a broad, open, and thorough discussion. These problems are actually the problems of Western society, and in a way, the problems of the whole world. I would like the Church to be able to respond to these modern problems of both society and the nation as well as individual people. And not only from the point of view of eternity, but also from the point of view of man’s natural legality, which is literally being destroyed before our eyes. Many, not only Christians, expect this from it.
DEMOKRACIJA: If we skip a bit and return to Slovenian politics. In 2004 and 2008, you were the President of the National Assembly. Based on this, how do you assess the functioning of the current convocation of the National Assembly?
Cukjati: The first impression of the new parliament gave a sad image. If anywhere, then in the parliament, the electoral winner must not behave in a simple-minded manner. The president of the parliament is expected to be benevolently correct, above all, towards the opposition, but not to try to silence it as much as possible even from the government level. In this sense, the current parliament has started very badly. Sometimes it seems that the electoral winner tries to suppress the electoral losers in every possible way. But to oppress them is to oppress their constituents, a large part of the nation. It is not good to be drunk with authority. Such primitivism sooner or later takes its revenge on the ruler.
DEMOKRACIJA: How do you assess the work of Golob’s government? It is obvious that its first goal is to deal with the legacy and personnel of the previous Janša’s government…
Cukjati: In ancient times, each new ruler, especially at the beginning of his rule, showed himself to be benevolent, especially towards those who had not been impressed by him until then. There were times when the ruler realised that he had become the ruler of all, not just those who helped him to the throne. He felt responsible for everyone.
Those times are gone now. By creating a list of those who were employed during the previous government, the new Prime Minister showed a dangerously threatening primitivism right from the start. From the very beginning, he made it clear that he felt responsible only for one part of the nation, while the other part would be condemned to exclusion and second-class status. A bad and dangerous start to the reign. Bad and dangerous for him too.
DEMOKRACIJA: How successful or unsuccessful is the government in the fight with the costliness?
Cukjati: One of the first measures of the new government was the abolition of tax (income) reliefs, which were adopted by the previous government, which, given the announced costliness, means that it sent us out of the frying pan into the fire. However, it promises to distribute some costliness candies, which the current government parties criticised a lot during the pandemic. Well, we will be able to evaluate the fight with the costliness only next year. I am afraid that this conflict will not make the current government proud.
DEMOKRACIJA: The political autumn will undoubtedly be very hot. On the initiative of the SDS and the citizens, from the first of September they will start collecting signatures in the administrative units for three legislative referendums: for the amendment to the law on the government, for the amendment to the law on RTVS, and for the amendment or changes to the law on long-term care… How do you view these referendum initiatives?
Cukjati: I welcome these initiatives. European countries have an average of 12 to 14 ministers, but we are supposed to have 20?! And we are not the biggest European country. This is really not about multiplying ministries according to the number of coalition partners and their wishes. Moreover, the new law on RTVS is highly questionable. The previous law placed more emphasis on the National Assembly for the appointment of the programme council, which always reflected the will of the voters, but now working journalists should have the main say in the appointment of the council, which is at odds with common sense. Listeners and viewers, payers, citizens, voters must keep the main word. Of course, due to 30 years of ideological personnel policy, there are “fuck..g” more of sworn left-wing journalists on the national team. The suspension of the long-term care law, which we have been waiting for 14 years, is also unacceptable. So let the people finally decide in a referendum.
DEMOKRACIJA: Will the Assembly for the Republic engage in these referendum initiatives?
Cukjati: Of course. We will discuss the work programme at the beginning of September.
DEMOKRACIJA: Presidential elections will be held on Sunday, October 23rd, and local elections will be held on November 20th. I have a feeling that Dr Anže Logar may surprise in these presidential elections, as he is a credible candidate with parliamentary and ministerial experience. His main competitors, Nataša Pirc Musar and Marta Kos, are heavily contaminated…
Cukjati: We really have a stormy election autumn ahead of us. We will once again witness a systematic media campaign in which 90 percent of the media will praise and paint the most beautiful image of their chosen one, while covering the competitors with a negative image and fabricated lies. Other media, which have a maximum of 10 percent media influence, will also try to show the true face of their competitors. I hope that we will not be surprised again by the iron legality that constitutional judge Klemen Jaklič pointed out when he said that there is no democracy without media plurality! Namely, if the media landscape is one-sidedly maligned, then the judgment of the voters is also maligned. And so, we get tainted election results and tainted national leadership.
DEMOKRACIJA: At the beginning of the summer, the Constitutional Court decided that the legislative regulation, which stipulates that only persons of different genders can enter into marriage and that same-sex partners living in a formal partnership cannot jointly adopt a child, is inconsistent with the constitutional prohibition of discrimination. The National Assembly has half a year to eliminate this alleged unconstitutionality. How do you view this decision of the Constitutional Court?
Cukjati: The National Assembly has been dealing with these issues for twenty years. Even more so during the consideration of the Family Code. All the time, there was an assertion in the air about how much homosexual citizens are discriminated against, even though the same-sex partnership law was passed in 2005 in the first Janša’s government, which guarantees all the rights of partners, as they apply to married couples. Only the issue of inheritance, alimony, visiting the partner in the hospital and the like was not consistently regulated, which was immediately corrected by the next Janša’s government in accordance with the provisions of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia.
Despite strong and persistent populist pressures, we did not experience any rush to register same-sex unions after the adoption of the law. And we kept hearing that homosexuals should also have the right to marriage, family status, adoption of children, etc. Such an equalisation is only possible with the complete degradation of the family and by ignoring facts such as “husband” – “wife”, “father” – “mother”. So, this – as one of the most important things of the new government – happened right at the beginning of the mandate. But even now, no rush to same-sex marriages is to be expected, since already on average there are hundreds of times fewer same-sex unions (58 last year) than classic marriages (5,916 last year). But that obviously does not matter. It is important that the symbol of the family is devalued.
Propagation of the right of same-sex couples to adopt a child is also increasingly violent. There is no proof of how important it is for the child’s psychological development that he lives not only in normal living conditions, but that he has a father and a mother and that their life together is arranged and presumably permanent. So that the adopted child would not fall into an environment of cruelty, divorce or – God forbid – paedophilia. That is why we already proposed an article at the time of adoption of the Family Code, which would give the person who determines the adoptive parent clear criteria for choosing the most suitable adoptive parent. In Slovenia, there are ten times more couples who would like to adopt a child than there are children suitable for adoption. Unfortunately, we did not make it. It is not necessary to prohibit same-sex couples from adopting, but it is necessary to determine that the child has the right to be adopted into the most suitable family environment.
Otherwise, adoption into the same-sex community is just another step towards the complete dehumanisation of social life. We are intensively destroying the natural life community of man and woman, family and nation and using all means to propagate and create unnatural biological communities up to and including zoophilia. We are increasingly destroying respect for human life, whether it is an unborn child or a helpless elderly person. Not to mention simple, frivolous playing with the human genome. A civilisation that is so at odds with nature will not do well.
DEMOKRACIJA: At the end of our conversation, let’s take a look at international events. I recently read your interesting article entitled “Understanding Putin and Ukraine” in Zaveza magazine. You start it by quoting Alain Besançon. Why?
Cukjati: We cannot understand great social movements without a knowledge of history. A well-known historian and philosopher who thoroughly researched Nazism and Communism used to say that they were fraternal twins. Both were also characterised by offering “lofty ideals” capable of inspiring enthusiastic devotion and heroic deeds. Nevertheless, both ideologies dictate the right and even the duty to kill. And it is precisely this spirit that is manifested in Putin’s justification of the bloody attack on Ukraine.
DEMOKRACIJA: Your observation that Russian President Vladimir Putin “apparently carefully read” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book “Russia in Disarray” is interesting. This is a writer whom we all appreciate also because of his courageous writing stance during the communist Soviet Union…
Cukjati: The thesis that the collapse of the Soviet Union (in 1991) was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century was summarised by Putin after Solzhenitsyn, who said that the collapse was the greatest tragedy in the history of Russia. But he ignores Solzhenitsyn’s second observation that the insane coup d’état of 1917 was also a great Russian disaster. According to Solzhenitsyn, the October Revolution was followed by the systematic dismantling of traditional values, including national identity. In his last book in 1998, he wrote that Russia is spiritually and physically broken and that it is in the midst of the penultimate loss of spiritual traditions, roots, and integrity of social life. The spiritual powers of Russia are destroyed. This is exactly what Solzhenitsyn saw as the reason why the Soviet Union failed to survive as a Commonwealth of Independent States, as the European Union has – at least so far – survived.
Putin could be understood as being in pain that the Soviet Union has disintegrated so frivolously. But he will have to understand that it is not possible to establish and maintain a union of sovereign democratic states with bloody force. It will not work without the spirit of Adenauer, de Gasperi, and Schuman. This also applies to the EU.
DEMOKRACIJA: Here you point out that Putin is trying to justify aggression against Ukraine by fighting against the “decadent West” …
Cukjati: Long before the attack on Ukraine, Putin worriedly criticised the advance of the decadent West against the East. He pointed out the ideology of multiculturalism, the contempt for one’s own national consciousness, and above all the spread of sexual debauchery, the destruction of the family and the propagation of unnatural views on the essence of sexuality. That is why he became so close to the Russian Orthodox Church and the Moscow Patriarch himself. However, this concern soon became unconvincing as a motivation to remove the current Ukrainian government. It is not possible to convert a nation by killing. However, Putin was and remains a child of Kagebe’s upbringing, who knows and wants to achieve even “noble” goals primarily through violence.
DEMOKRACIJA: And one last question. How do you assess the behaviour of the European Union so far and how should it behave in the future? And with that also Slovenia…
Cukjati: Nazism and Communism proved to be insane ideologies that caused untold human suffering. If we do not allow the communist delusion to educate us, let the memory of Nazism at least sober us up. For two or three years, Hitler peacefully occupied the neighbouring territories before Europe recognised that it was a war. If it had reacted in time, World War II might have been avoided. Today is the time to avoid World War III.
Another war is on the horizon, or we are already deep in it. The war to preserve nature. And not only green nature, but also and above all for the preservation of human nature. To respect a person’s biological, ethnic and gender identity. Different ideologies are on the rise, but just as crazy and unnatural. Also, totalitarian, and aggressively destructive. The question arises whether Europe will also resist these threats in time.