Michael the Great was wondering yesterday what is it with Slovenes that they seem to run politicians from power for no apparent reason, case in point being Sunday’s elections. As there are some fantastically flawed analyses out there, let me try to put things in some kind of perspecitve.
Lojze Peterle and his spokesman Janez Cigler Kralj (photo: Jure Eržen, Delo)
A lot of it has to do with the fact that there are only two milion people living in Slovenia (only 1,6 eligible voters at that) and that there is little or no margin of error when performance of politicians is concerned, as discontent tends to spread fast, especially when the right buttons are pushed. In most cases “the right buttons” have to do with social equality and other welfare state issues.
Furthermore, voting preferences for electing a president are not the same as for parliamentary elections. As I noted some time ago, the role of the president is largely ceremonial, but not completely insignificant as it carries great moral significance. Which of course means that people will choose a president who will in their opinion represent their values best. So, by extension, you can measure this country’s values by looking at the president (Incumbent president Janez Drnovšek being an exception to the rule as his transformaton took place while he was in office). Or – at the very least – you can look at the runner-up to see which values are not shared by the majority.
Also – and this phenomemnon is not limited to Slovenia – people tend to remove politicians that have outlived their usefulness. The most eloquent example of this is good old Winston Churchill who was voted out of office only 78 days after winning WWII.
And lastly: Slovenes seem to be convinced that they have a god-given right to the best political leadership this planet has to offer and that exceptional politicians are thick on the ground in this country (incidentally, most of this country’s politicians think they are a brass-balled godsend). And so Slovenes wouldn’t think twice about trhowing an able (but not exceptional) politician out of office before you can say “electoral commision”.
So, politicially speaking, Slovene voters are ungreatful bunch of spoilt brats.
And so – taking all this into account, adding the fact that the government of Janez Janša has done excpetionally well in fucking up a pretty decent ecenomy (how do you come from a model euro-adopting country to a text-book example of economic and fiscal no-nos in eight months?!?), combined with a what was perceived as a dismantling of the welfare state, and you can see why any candidate even remotely connected to the current government would have a hard time getting anywhere in the vicinity of a narrow defeat. And – just to round everything up – Janeza Janša didn’t really put his back into supporting Peterle, showing that the former Prime Minister was not exactly the incumbent Prime Minister’s first choice, which of course further alienated a significant part of the right wing voters.
This year the political planets were favouring the left, and all they had to do was not to screw it up big time. They didn’t. As for the parliamentary elections, to be held in a year’s time – dr. filomena is right. The game’s afoot.