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Coalition’s Unity Is Just An Illusion: The Left Party Boycotted The National Security Council; Fajon Was Also Absent

If we had followed only the dominant media, we would have gotten the impression that the meeting of the National Security Council happened without any big surprises and that Slovenia has a united view on the developments in Ukraine. This is what Prime Minister Robert Golob said, and this is what the regime media then repeated. This does not necessarily mean, however, that that is true. Both the state leadership and the mainstream media “forgot” to mention that the meeting of the National Security Council was boycotted by one of the government parties – the Left party (Levica), and the President of the Social Democrats party (Socialni demokrati – SD), Tanja Fajon, was also absent.

The Prime Minister made a statement after the consultation that Slovenia has no right (and, truth be told, it also does not have the power) to dictate to Ukraine that it should sit at the negotiating table as long as it still has the will to defend itself with the use of the military. Let us leave aside the fact that the statement is logical nonsense, because if Ukraine would not have any more military power or the will to use it, then no one would need to force it into negotiations because it would capitulate. Golob’s thoughts were echoed by the outgoing President of the Republic, Borut Pahor, and the President of the New Slovenia party (Nova Slovenija – NSi), Matej Tonin. The President of the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), Janez Janša, asked some difficult questions at the meeting, especially for the coalition. He asked why the left-wing Members of the European Parliament from Slovenia abstained from voting in favour of the resolution that declared Russia to be a state sponsor of terrorism. To this, the Prime Minister offered an unusual answer, namely that the government’s policy on support for Ukraine was unanimous and that the government had not given them any instructions on how they should vote. Janša then explained to the media: “That is to say, this vote was against the government’s policy. The only question that remains open is whether this coordination was done at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Minister was not here today, though. Two of the presidents of the government parties were absent.”

Both the Left party as well as the Social Democrats have made it clear in the past how they feel about Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The extreme Left party, with its non-constitutional programme, has been advocating immediate peace negotiations since the very beginning of the Russian aggression. This is something that all those involved in the conflict, in one way or another, want to see. Their position would be meaningless outside the context of the geopolitical circumstances, though. In their context, however, it is clear that the phrase “peace negotiations” is being used as a euphemism for the immediate capitulation of Ukraine, which would have to surrender part of its occupied territory to Russia or agree to a satellite regime that would be primarily accountable to the Kremlin and not to the Ukrainian people. The fact is that Ukrainians are not prepared to make such a “compromise” at the cost of their own lives.

The Social Democrats are on the brink of a democratic consensus
The Social Democrats, who present themselves as a centre-left party to Europe and the world, have been even more explicit, if only barely, about who is to blame for the war in Ukraine. At the recent SD congress in Ptuj, it was made clear, though not by the party’s highest leadership team, that in their opinion, it is the Americans and NATO who are to blame for the war in Ukraine. It would be a mistake to think that the party’s top leadership holds different views from its membership, though. The only difference is how they articulate those same views. This is evidenced by the recent explanation by MEP Milan Brglez as to why he did not vote in favour of the resolution which declared Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. In his statement, he explains that, like Milan Kučan, the blame for the war is equally shared between the two sides. It is as if he tried to claim that the blame was divided equally between Nazi Germany and Poland.

The Social Democrats’ vote came as no surprise, though. Tanja Fajon, the party’s current President, voted against granting candidate status to Ukraine as soon as possible when she was still an MEP. Fortunately, the resolution failed. Around the same time, she was in Germany, filming bizarre video addresses in which she condemned former Prime Minister Janša for going to Kyiv with his Polish and Czech counterparts in wartime conditions. When it became safer, she went there herself, thus admitting her historical mistake. Minister of Defence Marjan Šarec also realised that with a bit of a delay, who, during the former Prime Minister’s visit to Kyiv, urged Janša to put on his uniform and go into the trenches of war, and leave Slovenian alone. A few days ago, he himself visited Kyiv, where the Minister of Defence Reznikov refused to have his picture taken with him. Just as Zelenskyy refused to have his picture taken with Fajon. Ukrainians, unlike Slovenians, remember.

How is this even possible?
This raises the question of how it is even possible that two political parties were absent from such an important meeting. Despite their different views on the war in Ukraine. The National Security Council is one of the most important security bodies in the Republic of Slovenia. One would have expected the government party to have at least explained its decision with a press statement or a post on their social media profiles. It could be said that the de-facto chairman of the party, Luka Mesec, is too busy setting up a directorate for “economic diplomacy” or pushing the Yugoslavian self-management on the nation. But no. The Left has remained silent. And so have the Social Democrats.

Cracks in the coalition
It is quite likely that both the Social Democrats and the Left party avoided the meeting in the name of peaceful coexistence in the coalition. As we have seen above, their intimate positions are simply too divergent, too extreme, to co-shape a unified position of the nation. It is quite possible that Golob’s Freedom Movement coalition (Gibanje svoboda) also has similar views, but as the largest party in the government, they simply cannot express them publicly anymore. The cost to Slovenia in the international arena would be too high. The Social Democrats and the Left have more room for manoeuvre as they are the smaller parties. By not attending the meeting, they have thus killed several birds with one stone. Even after the meeting of the National Security Council, Slovenia maintained its position, which places it among the Western countries, while the Left party and the Social Democrats were able to maintain their more or less latent anti-Western stance. With all this, peace in the house (read: coalition) has been maintained for the time being.

But what will happen when the cracks between the government parties become too wide? The extreme Left party could be replaced by Tonin’s NSi, which these days makes no secret of its ambition to re-emerge as a government party.

Gal Kovač

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