Not a good week for Prime Minister Janez Janša, this one was (mmmmm, like master Yoda, I sound). It all began with the much advertised sale of 49% of the national telecom Telekom Slovenije going down the drain, as it turned out that both remaining contenders were going to perform some financial mumbo-jumbo in order to cough up enough dough. UK/German fund Bain Capital & Axos Capital & BT was going to take out a loan, securing it with Telekom’s shares, while Iceland-based Skipti wanted Telekom to buy a part of Skipti first, after which Skipti would by the 49% of Telekom. Slovenian People’s Party (SLS) went apeshit over it and threatened to leave the ruling coalition – grief Janša doesn’t need in the middle of EU presidency. Obviously, noone really thinks that SLS cares a pair of fetid dingo’s kindeys about who owns Telekom Slovenije (as long as the party has some say in it), but this was just too good of an opportunity for scoring cheap political points to miss. And SLS needs all the points it can get.
But that was just the start. On Tuesday, news broke that Croatian authorities auctioned off a piece of land which lies in the disputed border zone near Sečovlje. This small fleck of land is crucial to Slovenian claims to free exit to international waters and is claimed both by Slovenia and by Croatia – the latter being slightly more sucessful in this enterprise. Four years ago, in another pre-election stunt, this was the same spot where then president of SLS Janez Podobnik (now minister of enviromet) was arrested and roughed up by Croatian police for crossing the border illegaly (unfortunatelly, he was later released). In any case: Croatian authorities sold the land that Slovenia claims as its own and the government was caught with its pants down. Prime minister Janša can’t exactly send in the troops to reclaim the land, although we know from previous experiences that the though has crossed his mind. It’s that darn EU presideny again! So much for the hailed Janša-Sanader agreement and “protection of the motherland”.
Also on Tuesday, reports came in on Janša’s personal secretary confabulating with one of the protagonists of Operation Clean Shovel. And while this personal secretary claimed that the matter of building a new control tower in Ljubljana Int’l reached “the president himself”, JJ moved quickly to deny any such inuendo. But, the damage is done.
And to add insult to injury, on Wednesday, Tomaž Žibret – the eight and last person to have been detained during Operation Clean Shovel – was released from detention, slowing the pace of the investigation and bringing the possibilities of a quick wrap-up of the case to a complete zero (detention can only be extended if important new evidence is found or a danger exists for the accused to tamper with the evidence).
At least, in this case, SLS had nothing to do with it. We’ll see if any of the above reflect on JJ’s ratings.
Oh, and Slovenia recognised Kosovo yesterday.