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The Real Power Is In The Hands Of Janković’s Positive Slovenia, Disguised As The Freedom Movement

In Ljubljana’s Courthouse, which is just a few streets away from the City Hall, where Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković reigns supreme, sits the first among equals, Miodrag Đorđević. The latter is the President of the Supreme Court, one of the most important guardians of the rule of law in our country. Janković is an old acquaintance of the courts and, apparently, of the judges as well, as journalist Gašper Petovar pointed out at the beginning of this week’s episode of the show “Utrip” (Pulse). The latter was a comment on a photo from a football match that was leaked a few days ago, in which Đorđević can be seen waiting for Janković to come and greet him. A few weeks before that, the Minister of Justice, Dominika Švarc Pipan, jumped into the Mayor’s arms. But the judicial branch is not the only one where Janković’s influence can be felt. In the aforementioned show, Petovar revealed who really holds the power and who made that possible.

In the recent episode of the Radio-Television Slovenia show “Utrip”, the author of the said article, Gašper Petovar, pointed out key facts that show that Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković is not just “one of the businessmen in politics.” His influence extends to all sides, which is also reflected in the structure of the government itself, which includes several members of the former Positive Slovenia party (Pozitivna Slovenija). In his article, Petovar asks the pertinent question, namely, is power actually in the hands of Positive Slovenia, disguised as the Freedom Movement party (Gibanje Svoboda)?

It is hard to believe that the friendly relationship of the judicial names with the Mayor of Ljubljana had nothing to do with his recent acquittal, which took place just one day after the aforementioned football match. This is despite the fact that, as Petovar pointed out, Janković has several cases to defend himself on. “And just to be clear – we are not claiming that Janković’s cordial contacts with the highest representatives of the judicial branch of power and the judiciary had any influence on the outcome of the verdict, but it would have been interesting to see the reactions of the public if, say, Franc Kangler had greeted the Minister of Justice and the President of the Supreme Court like that, when he was still the Mayor of Maribor and had been involved in a court proceeding.”

This week, Miloš Njegoslav Milović was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for a fictitious deal with Slovenian Railways, worth several hundred thousand euros. We have already reported extensively on him, but he is a former member of the special police forces and former security guard of the late Janez Drnovšek from the time when the latter was still Prime Minister. As we have repeatedly pointed out, this same Milović is also an advisor to the current Prime Minister, Robert Golob, in addition to several ministers from the Freedom Movement, including Danijel Bešić Loredan, who will also have to defend himself, “not in court, but before the members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, because the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS) has filed an interpellation against him.” It is more than clear why, but to quote the head of the SDS party parliamentary group, Jelka Godec, the Minister is “incapable of continuing to perform the functions of a Minister.” Godec also explained that she does not believe the interpellation is in any way problematic, but hopes that the debate would be constructive. Although this is not the first interpellation under the current government, and the results of the previous ones were somewhat expected, this time, the situation with the Minister of Health is different – namely, “this time we do not know how the majority will vote,” Petovar said, and it is a fact that we have seen mixed opinions in the public about the Minister’s position. Petovar then went on to point out that, whatever the outcome of the interpellation, Bešić Loredan does not even intend to apologise for all the mistakes he has made so far, “however, he did apologise to Zoran Janković when the latter demanded an apology.” And he even did it twice.

“Everything points to the fact that Janković is not just some businessman in the Slovenian political arena who decided to go into politics – even though he was put in charge of Mercator by politics,” said the author of the article, who went on to show a conversation between Janković and former Prime Minister Tone Rop in that happened in 2002, when the latter, visibly upset, reproached Janković for “not telling him that he was appointed by politics.” As the author went on to say, “After the Pahor government had failed to gain the trust of the people and individuals to enter politics, Janković came to convince a bunch of people to get involved at the state level.” That is how he gained the full support of Milan Kučan and was even mentioned as a new face in Slovenian politics by the late Janez Stanovnik. Despite the victory of the Positive Slovenia party, he failed to form a government when he got the chance, and to ensure the survival of his party, he even froze his position after the report of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption came out, and the then party vice-president Golob accompanied his move with the words, which we have also repeatedly reminded our readers of – namely, “Janković is not our king, who we have to defend at all costs, he is the queen, and sometimes we also have to sacrifice the queen when playing chess”.

The power is in the hands of Positive Slovenia, renamed the Freedom Movement

“All this brought Alenka Bratušek to power, who ruled until Janković decided that enough was enough,” Petovar said. What followed was the fall of her government, as well as of every other one that came after it – that of Miro Cerar and that of Marjan Šarec, who was also a member of Positive Slovenia before creating his own party. At the moment, Golob’s government still enjoys Janković’s support. Golob still has Maša Kociper and Melita Župevc – two former members of Positive Slovenia, as prominent members of the Freedom Movement, and Bratušek and Šarec are also ministers today. The question arises whether Janković was really just a queen or whether all the pawns were actually in his hands, Petovar pointed out, also highlighting the fact that Golob will never enjoy the same level of Kučan’s support that Janković enjoys. It is also worth noting that Kučan did not support the former Freedom Movement party member Marta Kos when she ran for President of the Republic of Slovenia. Golob is losing the trust of the people who helped him build his historic victory, and there are more and more of them who are critical of the government, the author said.

What has also upset the public in recent days was the information that one of Slovenia’s best writers, who, in the opinion of the professional public, deserved the Nobel Prize for his work, was not to be part of the Frankfurt Book Fair, where Slovenia is the guest of honour this year. We are, of course, talking about Boris Pahor. The Director of the Slovenian Book Agency, Katja Stergar, and Miha Kovač, the father of left-wing activist and NGO director Nika Kovač, quickly began to calm the uproar. They both said that it had been planned from the beginning that his works would be highlighted. Petovar pointed out that no attention had been paid at the Frankfurt fair to the works of the late American writer Mario Puzo, to whom one of the fairs had been dedicated in the past. Puzo is known for his books, which also offer many parallels with some Slovenian practices, Petovar concluded.

Tanja Brkić

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