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Is Kos’s Resignation The Beginning Of The End Of The Freedom Movement Party?

When Marta Kos resigned as the ambassador to Switzerland, there were rumours that she was the next new face of the Slovenian transition left. At that time, secret polls were also launched, and the results on which woman would be most suitable to be the country’s next Prime Minister were never made public. Kos did disastrously at the time, and the godfathers from the background knew that she did not have the charisma to single-handedly pull the boat of anti-Janšaism forward. She then became one of the central faces of Golob’s proven “freedom” staff. But now she is saying goodbye to that role, too – as well as to Slovenian politics. The question is whether this marks the beginning of the return of important figures of the Freedom Movement party (Gibanje Svoboda) to the free market of the left-wing electoral pool.

As Marta Kos wrote in a press release, she is leaving the Freedom Movement party because “this is no longer her party.” She added that she had been considering taking this step for some time now. The circumstances that led her to withdraw from her candidacy for the position of President of the Republic and later from her position of Vice-President of the party in question have not changed – in fact, they remain the same and are even getting worse, she added.

As Professor Miro Haček has pointed out on Twitter, in a very short time, Kos has gone from being the party’s Vice-President to the party’s candidate for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to a presidential candidate, to an ordinary party member, to leaving the party.

Of course, part of the “circumstances that have not changed” is also that Kos is neither very popular nor charismatic enough on her own to make a difference at the polls, as the presidential elections showed very clearly. Her maximum – with the powerful support of the mainstream media and the largest party in the National Assembly – is the same as that of Milan Brglez. Around 15 percent of people were willing to vote for her.

At the same time, it is also interesting to follow the dynamics within the Freedom Movement party, which celebrated a landslide victory at the three referendums at the end of last month, and now the first prominent member of the party is leaving it, saying that “this is n longer her party.” Are her actions the first sign of others leaving the party, too, after the disobedience of Minister of the Interior Tatjana Bobnar, and Acting Director-General of the Police, Boštjan Lindav, who inadvertently made it public just how brutally Prime Minister Golob wanted to influence the purely professional staff within the police – even those who had no connections with the previous government? What is particularly significant here is also the response of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Urška Klakočar Zupančič, also a member of the Freedom Movement party, who said that Kos is leaving the party for personal reasons, even though it is clear from the press release that this is not the case.

It looks as if the party was completely unprepared for Kos’s statement and is now engaged in the kind of urgent putting out of fires that is almost always done by Klakočar Zupančič for the Freedom Movement party and Dominika Švarc Pipan for the Social Democrats party (Socialni demokrati – SD). It is not clear why they have adopted the tactic of “personal reasons” in this case, but it is very obvious that there has not yet been an information consolidation within the party on how they will react to the “crisis.”

Whether the resignation is the result of the revelation of an attempt to influence police staffing or of the Minister of Health’s statement that Prime Minister Robert Golob had told him that the doctors’ trade union FIDES must be brutally dealt with, we will never know. But it is a fact that there are no coincidences in Slovenia. For some time now, Golob – together with his MPs – has been behaving as if he is frunk on his victory and no longer interested in the “old deals” he had made before being elected.

That is also why he has repeatedly told Milan Kučan, who indirectly helped create him, that his time is over. It is perhaps not a coincidence, after all, that the correspondence from confidential talks between government representatives and social stakeholders and reports from meetings where staffing issues were being discussed have suddenly started to leak out. In this case, we, Slovenians, are mere spectators, watching the clash between the old and new forces of the left continuity. And what is particularly significant is that it was Kučan who spoke out today in his political bulletin – the Mladina magazine – against Golob. Namely, he said: “In a dictatorship, the wolf chooses which sheep to eat. In a democracy, the sheep choose which wolf will eat them.”

Is this really the beginning of the end of the Freedom Movement party, which, like a wild son on the wings of historically unparalleled media propaganda, has outgrown its father and now wants to replace him, while the older generation is sending the son back to school? In any case, the year 2023, when the global crisis will begin and will be felt by all average Slovenians, will be more than interesting.

The party has so far managed to retain almost all the support it had in the April elections, even though it has announced tax rises, wage cuts, and despite the fact that we are on the verge of a collapse of the healthcare system and that we are almost world record holders in the number of coronavirus cases. Much of the support can be explained by the fact that media support for the largest coalition party is unwavering, as the mainstream media outlets have rallied around Golob in a similar way to how they rallied around Janez Drnovšek in 1990. However, the situation will become much more difficult for the party if the media is forced to start talking about economic realities and if the old godfathers from the background turn against the party, which may be happening right now.

Andrej Žitnik

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