“Regarding the political space in the next year, it can be said that the dialogue needs to be calmed down. Just as the tones and culture of speech are rising now, it looks like we are going to fight before the election. It would be good if, when there are elections, everyone is still standing on their feet, so that there is no nonsense, and the elections are held in peace. Given the successes, I expect the current government to be by far the best of all the governments I have followed over the last few decades, and I even had the opportunity to work with them for a year – as Director of Government Legislation, this government is working hard, it works at a crazy pace that is hard to keep up with. I imagine that people will realise this, as it is evident in concrete results,” says international law expert Miha Pogačnik.
We talked to some prominent Slovenian personalities. We asked them what awaits us in the new year considering the upcoming elections. We first asked Miho Pogačnik, an expert in international law: “With the presidency of the EU Council, Slovenia has taken exceptionally good care of its visibility in the world, and above all with the unusual pace of bilateral and multilateral relations. It is obvious that all records are being broken in terms of number at home and abroad. As a result, a good international environment can be seen in general.” The international environment was a bit spoiled by the export of domestic political or even para-political problems to the international political arena, which of course was not good, but it probably did not do any major damage to Slovenia.
Regarding the political space next year, it can be said that the dialogue needs to be calmed down. “Just as the tone and culture of speech are rising now, it looks like we are going to fight before the election. It would be good if, when there are elections, everyone is still standing on their feet, so that there is no nonsense, and the elections are held in peace.” Given the successes, Pogačnik expects that the current government, which is certainly the best of all governments considering the past few decades and with which he even had the opportunity to work with for one year as director of the government’s legislative service, this government works at full stretch, with a crazy pace that is hard to keep up with. “I imagine people will realise that, because it is evident in concrete results.”
“As for the entry of new faces into politics, I think there is nothing wrong with that. People will choose them in the elections – the ones they think are right. Maybe even something new will be heard. Either way, someone must get into parliament first. Jonas Žnidaršič can also be just as or even more fun than Marjan Šarec or Alenka Bratušek. Bread and games.” It is good that some new cards are opening no matter on which side. Maybe there is nothing wrong with “writing” another new “joke” in the parliament. It is not fundamentally wrong for new people to enter politics. We have seen it all in this country. Some proved to be worse, others great, but if a new face comes to the middle (or anywhere else), let them come.
The one who succeeds in regulating justice and health care in the coming years will go down in history
Either way, he cannot enjoy any special trust because he has not done anything yet, but if anyone can brighten up the scene, let him do so. “In short, Slovenia is in a great foreign policy condition after the presidency, it enjoys a great reputation, so we are brilliantly covered externally in the political sense. But there will be elections internally – the great successes of this government are a good guide for these elections, which many people might realise. But the government certainly has a good starting point, because it has a lot to show, unlike everyone else.” This seems very important to him. The results are also noticeable in many other areas, which is clearly confirmed by certain indicators.
And with all of that, one political option can boast, and another can boast of what it did years ago and with some of its ideas that it obviously does not have many of now. In fact, they cannot boast with anything. Pogačnik also finds it important that there are two neuralgic points in Slovenia that are not “from yesterday” but drag on through the history of the new country. We are talking about justice and health. And whoever will air, arrange, and lay it on a solid foundation in the coming years will be one of the great heroes in addition to those who already exist in Slovenia. These will be people who will go down in history. These are two areas that are urgent.
It will be interesting to see the conflict between Europe’s East and West
“As I understand it, healthcare is a parallel financial pool, accessible only to certain people, or if we say that it is an orchard, like energy (orchard for the chosen ones), and all other citizens or “sheep” are denied access to these fruits by an “electric shepherd” called justice.” Therefore, the Minister of Justice Marjan Dikaučič will have to introduce extraordinary administrative supervision regarding the education of the Supreme Judge Branko Masleša. And the Ministry has all the leverage to settle matters legally with relevant experts, and not citizens who have to deal with it as amateurs on Twitter now (although that is also useful and good). The state, as guardian and founder, always has the right to control. If an irregularity is suspected in an institution, then, for example, extraordinary administrative control is introduced there or an administrative inspection is sent, etc. “These possibilities certainly exist for every body.”
Dimitrij Rupel, a long-time distinguished diplomat and politician, also shared his views: “It is difficult to say anything original about the situation in the world – in 2022. Climate change, migration, and the pandemic! It will be interesting to see the dispute over the primacy of European law and national sovereignty between Brussels and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, respectively.” Russia’s policy, which threatens the European Union and the United States, is a matter of concern. President Putin said the Soviet Union was another name for Russia; Russia also has the right to decide on the policies of countries such as Ukraine.
In Slovenia, we really need a vital central political alliance
Slovenia should encourage Bulgaria to withdraw its reservations about Northern Macedonia, and the European Commission to prepare corrections to the Dayton system together with the United States and the United Nations. Without BiH, there can be no enlargement to the Western Balkans. Regarding Slovenia or the April elections, we should carefully analyse the performances and statements as we saw or heard in the recent television show, in which, in addition to Lidija Hren, the leaders of the opposition parties performed. The left-wing presented itself with a new hairstyle, and Mr. Šarec was more or less at the level of pop art. There has been a lot of talk of trust, but in the West, they usually prefer control: “Trust is good, but control is better!” It is necessary to control and say what is true about the economy, health, media, justice…
“Fortunately, we also find in the newspapers that are in favour of the victory of the left (KUL) that we Slovenes are not doing so badly. In Slovenia, we really miss the vital central alliance, which could be formed by the parties NSi, Konkretno, SLS, Zeleni, and perhaps also Mrs. Aleksandra Pivec.” The main order for parties could be: strive for cooperation and normalcy. French President Mitterrand won in 1981 with the motto: Peaceful Power! The former president of the Slovenian parliament recommended that important documents should be signed with a shaking hand. So, it would be a good combination of caution and determination: each at its own time and applied according to the circumstances. So not too little, not too much, just right!
The left has no clear political agenda, but at the same time it leans towards ideological extremism
Sociologist and professor Matej Makarovič also gave his opinion: “It would be ideal if we could predict more tolerance and constructive cooperation in politics, and at the same time less polarisation and exclusion.” Unfortunately, this is unlikely given what has happened so far. Before the election, we will get at least one strongly media-supported new face on the left. But since the left bloc in Slovenia finds it difficult to agree on anything but Janez Janša’s rejection, any new face will find it difficult to overcome its current fragmentation. A lot will depend on the small parties in the political middle – if they manage to make convincing connections to enter the National Assembly, they will be crucial as a tab on the scales. If the covid crisis continues and may even escalate due to new versions of the virus, a new force on the right or far right, built on the rejection of covid measures and conspiracy theories, is not ruled out.
Such a force would be directed against both the SDS and the left, which could confuse things a lot, but for now it remains only at the level of conjecture. “Within the elections themselves, I expect a relative victory of the SDS, but at the same time its serious challenges, when it will try to form a coalition. On this basis, two possible scenarios will be most likely. The first scenario is a strong enough political environment that will be able to enter a coalition with the SDS, which would give a practical continuation of the current government.” The second scenario is the repetition of the KUL rule under some new leadership, because Šarec is politically practically written off. Such a coalition would be a combination of instability, as it would lack a central force with a clear programme, and fluctuations towards political extremes, as its most profiled part would be at the same time the most extreme left. There is a third option in the form of a mixed or even grand coalition, but this is the least likely given the current political climate.
The intellectually underfunded left remains a great threat to the state, the future, and the meaning of independence
Finally, the historian Stane Granda also confided his opinion to us: “The third Janša government was operating in abnormal conditions of the epidemic. Although it was extremely proficient, it should have emphasised a bit more that it acted on the proposals and instructions of leading Slovenian experts, in many respects, especially in the economic field, it exceeded the most optimistic expectations.” It also excelled in the presidency, especially given how little time it had to prepare. The success of the Janša government is all the greater because, even before it was formed, it received not only criticism but also political opposition on the verge of civil war. It seems to me that the very fact that it did not fall prey to irrational provocations is its greatest success. Maybe it was too politically correct in this regard. At the very least, it could hold the opposition accountable for most of the deaths.
“We are entering the pre-election period. Since the opposition has already largely sprung up and is acting, as evidenced by the recent appearance on the “national television” on the verge of normalcy, it would be appropriate to end its intellectual misery. Not to defeat it, but because in its general helplessness it is becoming a great danger for the state, for Slovenia’s future, for the meaning of Slovenian independence.” It must be uncompromisingly revealed to the citizens that it has nothing to offer. Care must be taken not to push the problems of the past to the fore again, but to expose it on the concepts of Slovenia’s future. The end adorns the work. Already the first Janša government presented its outstanding achievements poorly and did not repeat its mandate.
Success in elections will be determined by the acquisition of undecided and passive citizens
Until it has at least two terms in office, in this case at least two in addition to the existing one, because it was incomplete, Slovenians cannot afford a peaceful sleep. It will probably be crucial, especially given the incredible bias of the media, to invest the most energy in communicating with citizens. Visits to the regions are important, but meetings with voters are lacking. Success in elections will not be determined by the percentage of votes retained, but by the acquisition of undecided and passive citizens. There is content, but communication will be key! Maybe it would not be a mistake to look for some foreign consultants. Of course, it should not be overlooked that these can also be a double-edged sword. The Slovenian space has its own political specifics!