Archive for April, 2008

Showdown At OK Sečovlje

Remember Joško Joras? A group of people organised into movement 25. Junij (June 25th) yesterday led what they called a peaceful march for a fair border between Slovenia and Croatia.

podobnik bros Showdown At OK Sečovlje
Janez Podobnik (left, 2004) and Marjan Podobnik (right, 2008) provoking at Slovene-Croatian border

In case you don’t know, the litlle fleck of land Joško Joras calls home is only accessible by a road between Slovenian and Croatian border checkpoints at Sečovlje border crossing. Even more, it is on the disputed piece of land, claimed by both Slovenia and Croatia. The latter enforced its claim by blocking the road with cement flower pots and today’s march was called under a pretext of removing these pots, following an order to do so by Piran District Court.

Now, you have to understand that since both countries claim sovereignity over this land, there is a regulat tug-of-war between various institutions. Croatinan district court in Buje thus orders the road to be closed, while Slovenian district court in Piran then rules that the closure is illegal and orders pots to be removed. And so it goes on forever. Croatians are – truth be told – slightly better in this enterprise, mostly because they have direct land access to Joras’s land and can therefore engage in a multitude of tricks, whereas Slovenian options are limited – neglecting the fact that Croatia really wants to achieve a fait accompli, whereas Slovenia opted not to hit below the belt and plays the long game.

Anyways. Morons of 25. Julij today wanted to (and I qoute) “enact the ruling of Piran Distric court” and remove those pots. Which is all fine and dandy, unless a) it is paintfully obvious that this is a very very lame excuse to try and provoke a border incident and b) that the law cannot be enforced by a mob.

Leader of 25. Julij is – you won’t really be surprised – Marjan Podobnik, brother of Janez Podobnik, minister of enviroment and former president of SLS. Now, Marjan himself was president of SLS in the second half of the 90s but he spectacularly fucked up and was sent to political oblivion. Or so we thought. Some six months ago he formed movement 25. junij (the date of Slovene independence) and it was immediately obvious that shit is about to hit the fan. Namely, the Podobnik Bros. have an unhealthy relationship with that particular piece of the border and Joško Joras. Four years ago, only days before the elections Janez Podobnik went “to visit” Joško Joras, tussled with the Coratian police and caused an international border incident. And yesterday, his brother Marjan gathered a mob of 200 people, went to remove those fucking pots, tussled with the croatian police and caused an international border incident. Am I the only one seeing a pattern here?

If you want to see the tussle, click here, scroll to the end of the article and press play.

The whole thing disgusts me and I think Podobnik (Marjan, this time around) deserves a proper bitch slapping. Creating an international incident to score cheap political points is crazy (oh, he maintains that the whole thing is apolitical. Yeah, and I’ll vote SDS in autumn). Abusing a member of your own party to do so (Joras) is despicable. And finally, claiming that the rule of law is at an end since Slovene police won’t let them camp in for the night is just criminal.

And just to remind you – this is not the first case of mob justice in this country. Remeber Ambrus and the Strojan Family? Precisely the same mechanisms were at work yesterday. The fact that this government rode to power on a wave of xenophpby, nationalism and even racism, gives a carte blanche to Podobniks and the likes (Slovenian readers will appreciate the wordplay, no?) to go about serving justice as they see fit.

EDIT: in the comments, crni validly points out that Slovenian police removed the protesters once their Slovenian permit expired. I’m not saying that the entire state apparatus is in on serving mob justice. By “this government” I mean the actual political body and the political parties it consists of.

Oh, and – don’t forget – today is 27 April. Today Slovenia celebrates the formation of the Liberation front in 1941. Detailed info here, this year let me just announce that I’ll be doing the Liberation Day Hike on May 10th and you are welcome to join in.

Smrt fašizmu, svoboda narodu!

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Friday Foxies LXXVI.

20080425 ff Friday Foxies LXXVI.

I wonder if the car is part of the deal icon smile Friday Foxies LXXVI.

Friday, April 25th, 2008

SNS Sets Sights On Coalition As The Prez Addresses Parliament

A new edition of Politbarometer, a more or less monthly check-up of public opinion polled and published by Public Opinion and Mass Communication Research Centre revealed what has a Ninamedia poll a month ago detected: that Zmago Jelinčič and his SNS are on the rise. This time around they took the third spot, which should ring alarm bells all over the political spectrum.

ankica01 SNS Sets Sights On Coalition As The Prez Addresses Parliament

NOTE: for unknown reasons Politbarometer failed to detect Sašo Peče’s Slovenska Lipa. It only cites 1% of the vote under “other”. For reasons of continuity I put that result in Lipa’s column.

According to this poll SNS is the only party on the rise, which is bad bad news especially for the left bloc, because it means that the canmpaign will acquire an increasingly populistic tone. But it is even worse news for the right bloc, because it is now clear that Janša’s attempts to take over SLS and NSi votes have resulted in driving the voters of these two parties over to SNS, suddenly making it a force to be reckoned with. But this also sheds a whole new light on possible post-election coalition arangements. So far we’ve only compared two easily identifiable blocs: SD, LDS and Zares (left bloc) versus SDS, SLS and NSi (right bloc), with other parties playing a side role. At the moment this gives us the following division of the decided voters (note that as much as 39 percent of voters remain undecided) :

ankica02 SNS Sets Sights On Coalition As The Prez Addresses Parliament

If we now indulge in some political mathematics, we are presented with two options. ONE: Call it a true left/right split. In this scenario SD, LDS, Zares and DeSUS form a completely left wing coalition and enjoy a comfortable 6 percent lead over the right bloc. TWO: The ruling coalition is extended to include Jelinčič’s SNS and in this scenario we are faced with a split down the middle, which – some claim – is the natural state of Slovene politics.

ankica03 SNS Sets Sights On Coalition As The Prez Addresses Parliament

Translated into reality (with some help of electoral mathematics), this would mean that a left-wing government would enjoy a small, but managable majority in the parliament, whereas a right-wing government would have a mininimal majority, possibly having to rely on the votes of minortiy deputies, which traditionally vote with the government.

There is another element, however. Today, President Danilo Türk addresses the parliament on the issue of the Constitutional Court, which is subject to increasing political pressures as well as burdened with an exponential increase in cases. Türk – whose yesterday’s speech to the European Parliament has won international acclaim – will most likely strike at the core of the issue and possibly shift the focus on the debate to some elementary problems this country is faced with – the independency of the judicial branch being chief among them.

Pengovsky’s projection: Which of the two scenarios will occur mostly depends on which party gets the most votes. If Janša’s SDS tops Pahor’s SD, then the second scenario is much more likely to happen, as Janša will (as he should) do anything in his power to continue running the country. However, the Prez’s speech might stir the pot just enough to add some real content to the election campaign and force the parties to take a stand with or against the proposed issues, and – by extention – with or against the President himself.

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

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