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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Right centre after the election

By: Petra Janša

It is not difficult to agree with the opinion of MEP Milan Zver that immediately after the election, people publish their visions, usually still under the emotional impression of the whole story. According to him, it is not important whether the party’s candidates are old or young, new or established faces, but whether they are of good quality.

If we ignore all the irregularities in Slovenian polling stations, let us first mention the myth of new faces, which voters like to buy from left-wing propaganda. This was recently pointed out by Milan Zver, an MEP, in an interview for Demokracija magazine, but he did not forget to say that the centre-right should work together to find a way to oppose the ad hoc party and the so-called new faces, as this has happened again in the case of the Gibanje Svoboda party. According to Zver, just as the parties of Miro Cerar and Marjan Šarec disbanded, Golob’s Gibanje Svoboda will also disintegrate quickly, because, as he says, it has no skilled politicians or infrastructure, and especially no field organisation. “Practically, Golob’s party has no attributes to be considered a political party, which is otherwise a pillar of modern democracy. Maybe it will unite with some party that has it,” Zver is convinced.

The electorate is not yet mature enough

We can also agree with Zver when he says that the Slovenian electorate is not yet mature and stable enough. “In old democracies, people vote based on value proximity and rational judgment of which choice is more beneficial to them. In our country, however, many elect based on sympathy/antipathy, which is an irrational factor.” Public opinion makers on the left are certainly aware of this. Therefore, in the future, according to Zver, we can expect even more so-called new faces and ad hoc parties or lists. “In the last elections, most people did not recognise that it was a combination of the far left, anti-vaccinators, and tycoons from the old boys network. They just buy it, especially if it is cheap. The left has never run out of money, and it is not difficult to do marketing in such circumstances, especially if you have a dominant media.” And it is the media, especially public RTV and the largest commercial TV, that will continue to create political picture in Slovenia. Unfortunately.

Ungrateful or forgetful voters?

We have also been able to read and listen to comments on several occasions that the outgoing government needs to be acknowledged that it has kept a significant number of people alive through health measures during the covid-19 crisis, although the measures were not optimal. It has also kept most companies alive through measures, as well as employment and the well-being of families and individuals. However, the fact that its communication was inadequate and unsuccessful is not true, as the dominant role in this was again played by the dominant media, among which the national RTV broadcaster was in the lead. The latter also had the lion’s share in reporting on Slovenia’s presidency of the EU Council and the provision of EU funds for recovery and resilience. Although there were several comments in which the outgoing governments acknowledged that these were two great achievements, voters did not reward it. They seem ungrateful or forgetful. However, it is possible that many, through the Gibanje Svoboda party, are now thinking how they will add their piggy bank when European millions will be shared.

Pro-Russian moment in Slovenia

We must not forget another important fact, namely the pro-Russian sentiment (read financial dependence on Russia), which is cultivated by many in Slovenia. Although the current Prime Minister Janez Janša was still acknowledged for his leadership and courage to visit Kyiv, and many European and world politicians are now following his example, the Slovenian voters have not rewarded him. Therefore, it will be interesting to see what kind of foreign policy the new government will set.

Perhaps the story we saw during the term of Pahor’s government, when we had three Foreign Ministers, will be repeated, in the image of the then Prime Minister Borut Pahor, the then President Danilo Türk, and the then Foreign Minister Samuel Žbogar. While the former was more in favour of American policy, the other two were more pro-Russian than non-pro-Russian. It should be reminded that the Russians opened the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Ljubljana under Žbogar’s ministry, not to talk about the construction of South Stream… By the way, Samuel Žbogar was the EU Special Representative in Kosovo until 2020 and the head of its office. He is currently in charge of the OECD at the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The impact of civil society

The result of the recent elections was also influenced by the so-called civil society, which in Zver’s opinion is a little special in Slovenia. As he recently told Demokracija magazine, most of the civil society or NGOs are left leaning, as they are financially supported by left-wing politics. “So, they are part of the political structure and as such they are not independent, and we cannot call them civil society. It would be more correct to call them para-civil society or urban tribes in the service of left-wing politics. The traditional structure of civil society is something else, it is not financed by the state, and it does not serve politics.” Zver also commented on the Church’s influence on the elections. He believes that the Church is trying to prove that it has a balanced attitude between both the left and the right, that is, towards those who are hostile to it and towards those who respect it. However, in Zver’s opinion, this is probably not the optimal approach.

Lukewarm group Povežimo Slovenijo

And a few more words about the (un)success of the joint list Povežimo Slovenijo in the recent elections. It is true that the mentioned project was not badly conceived, but it became risky when Pivc went on her own way with her list. “Of course, Pivc’s independent path suited the old nomenclature, as she chased voices mainly in the spring camp, especially in the countryside. Anyone who knew a little about politics knew that she would not be able to enter parliament on her own. Together, however, they certainly would. In short, she did a task for someone else. As for SLS party, let me emphasise that it is an established brand, but it will take a long time for it to be ‘in’ again.”


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