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The Prime Minister’s Behaviour Is Reprehensible

On Wednesday, the Ministry of the Interior sent the government explanations by Acting Director-General of the Police, Boštjan Lindav, and Minister of the Interior, Tatjana Bobnar, on political pressures on the work of the police. In her letter, Minister Bobnar announced that she would submit her resignation after returning to Slovenia from Brussels, and the Prime Minister is expected to accept her resignation due to a loss of confidence in her work. Bobnar has recently also stressed that politics must end at the door of the Director-General of the Police – and former Minister of the Interior Vinko Gorenak therefore welcomes her principled approach in the case of her resignation. “The resignation of the Minister of the Interior will mean that the Prime Minister has acted in a way that she has had enough of, and that is reprehensible,” Gorenak said.

According to former Interior Minister Vinko Gorenak, Tatjana Bobnar‘s announcement that she will resign as Interior Minister should be taken with a pinch of salt. If she does resign, it will be on Friday – on Thursday, she will still be in Brussels on official business – so a lot can happen between now and Friday. If she does resign, Gorenak welcomes her principled stance, as she has announced that politics must stop at the door of the Director-General of the Police. On the other hand, there is also the possibility that there is some truth in the media reports that Bobnar has already secured a job with the future President of the Republic, Nataša Pirc Musar.

If Bobnar’s resignation does happen on Friday, the actions of Prime Minister Robert Golob must be condemned, loud and clear. “Golob clearly expected more party obedience and discipline than Bobnar is prepared to give,” Gorenak said, adding that the resignation of the Interior Minister will mean that the Prime Minister has acted in a way that she has had enough of – and that is reprehensible. It would, of course, be easier to comment on what is happening if we knew the content of the report that Bobnar sent to Golob.

Gorenak also said that he himself appreciates Bobnarj quite a lot, as they had worked together in one way or another until 2012, and even when Gorenak was Interior Minister, Bobnar had performed her duties excellently – in Gorenak’s opinion, she even did it better than her predecessor Janko Goršek. It would be difficult to speak of her being apolitical – like Boštjan Lindav, her heart clearly beats more for the left side of the political spectrum, but it is also very obvious that both of them are currently very disappointed with their political option. The Večer newspaper recently reported that Lindav’s report on political pressures on the police, which is classified, is said to be very detailed and contains specific names of who put pressure on the police during the current government’s term in office. On the other hand, Golob, in a written statement to the media, claimed that the explanations of Acting Director-General of the Police, Boštjan Lindav, which he received on Wednesday, do not confirm the statements of the Minister of the Interior regarding the politicisation of the police. According to Golob, the report does not show that during the mandate of this government, any political official exerted political pressure on the police, sought to obtain information on the work of the police or influenced specific procedures. In his press statement, he also added that, in the interest of full information, the police expected the report to be made public as soon as possible – this would certainly shed further light on whether what Golob claimed was true.

We have to distinguish between political orientations and political interference

It is difficult to predict who will take Bobnar’s place in the event of her resignation, and there could be some difficulties within the coalition in making this decision. Among other things, there could be a desire to replace her with Boštjan Poklukar, who has already served as a minister in Marjan Šarec‘s government. It was also interesting to follow the recent statements of Branko Lobnikar – namely, the State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior disagrees with the opinion that only the Interior Minister can request written reports from the Director of the Police and that reporting directly to the Prime Minister is incompatible with the Organisation and Work of the Police Act. “It is only natural that the Prime Minister, who heads the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, of which the Ministry of the Interior is a part, also expects the constituent bodies to report on their work and the circumstances in which they carry out their work. Therefore, I do not see anything controversial in the above-mentioned order of the Prime Minister,” the web portal MMC reported on what Lobnikar said on the sidelines of a national conference on security in local communities in Celje, a statement that was certainly to Golob’s liking. He added that politics is an integral part of a modern democratic society and that, therefore, there is nothing wrong with being political – moreover, in his view, “the role of politics is to strategically guide the work of the police.” Once again, we can see that political pressures are presented as something completely different on the left than on the right. As the Speaker of the National Assembly, Urška Klakočar Zupančič, has already said: “We have to distinguish between political orientations and political interference.”

We recently reported that Prime Minister Robert Golob expected an explanation from Acting Director-General of the Police, Boštjan Lindav, by Wednesday, as to who and when during the term of office of this government exerted political pressure on him or on the police – including Minister of the Interior Tatjana Bobnar. At the same time, the former Director of the Criminal Police, Dušan Mohorko, recalled on Twitter that Golob, while he was still the State Secretary, had come to the Celje Police Station and tried to order the employees on what should be done – therefore, this kind of behaviour is nothing new to the Prime Minister. According to the web portal Požareport, the rumours that Damir Črnčec was trying to overthrow Minister Bobnar started weeks ago, but the matter escalated when the candidate for Director-General of Police, Boštjan Lindav, was only given a temporary extension of his mandate. Bobnar commented on this decision by saying that politics must end at the door of the Director-General of Police. According to the Dnevnik newspaper, the background of the showdown with Bobnar and the top brass of the police is a fight for influence over the police and the information it has. But it is allegedly not only Črnčec who has a growing influence, but also Golob’s informal advisor Miloš Njegoslav Milović. The Delo newspaper wrote a few days ago that Boštjan Šefic, a national security adviser who worked for the Slovene Intelligence and Security Agency for a long time and then went to work for the former State Security Administration agent Zoran Debeljak, has been mentioned as a possible successor to the current Interior Minister. According to the web portal, Šefic was the first operative of the now-deceased Borut Šukljet, a long-time director of special media-police actions against troublesome players in the Slovenian economy and politics, who was also Interior Minister in the government of Janez Drnovšek. Šefic denied to Delo today that he had been talking with anyone about taking over the post – so according to media estimates, Poklukar and Lobnikar are currently in the running for the minister’s chair. But first, of course, we have to wait until Friday for the resignation to actually happen.

Sara Bertoncelj

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