Archive for April, 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

Ljubljana 2025

Yesterday the Municipality of Ljubljana unveiled its Draft Strategic Zoning Plan, which will be a subject to a public debate until 30 May and is expected to be enacted by late 2008 or early 2009. The plan will more or less define the contours of spatial development of Ljubljana until 2025 and beyond and is the first such document this city passed since 1986, which will hopefuly put an end to partial development of ever-smaller areas of the city where developers showed little or no regard to the city’s overall needs. Why should they, afterall, if the municipal adiministrations failed to do so. At any rate, this are about to change, but this time city’s architects priovided eye candies as well. Well, one eye candy in particular.

As of yesterday, Ljubljana is visible in 3D on Google Earth, and now rubs shoulders with London, Paris, Washington, New York and the likes. But there’s more – you can also see what Ljubljana will look like which is way cool.

2008042301 googleearth Ljubljana 2025

So – download, add the 3D-Warehouse pack and browse. And if you want to really see what is being planned (can read Slovenian and are map-savvy), you can log on to a dedicated Zoning Plan webpage and submit comments

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

A Referendum Up Janša’s Sleeve

After a quiet three-week period, we’ve had another poll by NinaMedia, which basically shows more of the same. Namely, that the oppostition Social Democrats and the ruling Slovene Democtratic Party are still neck-and-neck, with other parties trailing far behind. But the “far behind section” is fast becoming a three-way race, with Liberal democrats, Zares and now SNS all squeezing within one-and-a-half percent.

20080422 ankica0101 A Referendum Up Janšas Sleeve

Now that Borut Pahor has more or less made it clear that he will (at least at first) seek to form a left-wing coalition with Zares and LDS, a complete polarisation of Slovene politics is imminent if not already here. This is why a comparison of percentages between left and right bloc is suddenly very telling. The graph below shows that the three opposition left-wing parties could at the moment form a government on their own, since the finer points of Slovene electoral mathematic allow for an absolute majority with around 30-40 percent of the vote, if the rest of the vote is fractured enough.

20080422 ankica02 A Referendum Up Janšas Sleeve

Here the “cannibalisation effect” is very much obvious. The coalition parties (minus DeSUS, which is tehcnically a coalition party, but left-wing) can muster only slightly below 25% percent of the vote, which means that Janez Janša – the way things stand now – would have to co-opt both DeSUS (again) and Jelinčič’s nationalists, both in addition to his current rather alienated “natural” coalition partners – SLS and NSi. Both are recording depressingly low percentages and pengovsky is none too happy about that.

However, elections are still almost six months away and it would appear that we will witness at least one more referendum – this time on regions. More on that in one of the future posts (when more details become available), but at the moment it seems like a very nifty move by PM Janša – the government has ammended its proposal to include City of Ljubljana as a separate region and reduced the number of proposed regions (from 14 to 12), which makes the idea a whole lot more appealing to many people.

Pengovsky’s projection: As the left is trying not to fix what ain’t broken while it enjoys a comfortable lead over the right bloc, the government (and especially the PM) are looking for ways to spend the left bloc’s potentital by egaging it into relatively unimportant but nevertheless bloody political fights. The upcoming referendum (the date is yet to be announced) is primarily aimed at bolstering government’s ratings both by making the left loose energy over it and by giving the people another punch bag just before the elections on which they can vent their frustrations with the government. So, even Janša and the governmetn lose the referendum, they are much more likely to win the election (but not necesarily win the majority in the parliament). And if SDS comes out as the relative winner, you can be sure that Zmago Jelinčič and his nationalists will find themselves very close to the top levels of power – possibly getting a ministerial posting or two. Zmago Jelinčič as minister of interior? Did we really drop that low?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

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