It’s been over a month since last poll was published and pengovsky was already starting to wonder where have all the polls(ters) gone, Ninamedia comes to the rescue. Sort of, anyway. Results in a nutshell: Social Democrats seem to have bounced back, SDS stopped its dive, while Lipa, SLS and NSi should perhaps start to worry.
Things are, naturally, not so simple. The past month has seen a flurry of activity spread over a number of fields. On one hand we have had what is becoming known as “tycoon takeovers”, including but not limited to takeovers of Laško Brewery (new owner Boško Šrot) and Istrabenz (new owner Igor Bavčar). On the other hand, we have regional legislation which promises to be a whole new pre-election front, as results of referenda will probably be anything but clear and finally, there’s the Patria arms affair (not extensively covered on this blog, but that might change in the future as its political rammifications are getting more and more clear.
We’ve covered that on more than one ocassion, but events of the past week showed that the government is intent on pushing regional legislation through no matter what. To this effect it had the parliament call a referendum on the issue. However, to get his way, Prime Minister Janez Janša had to ensure that at least two out of four DeSUS MPs vote in favour of ther referendum. Which in the end they did, but only after Janša promised additional 35 million euros for pensions. 17.5 mil a vote – not a bad deal, eh? So while the people are being fed yet another referendum (expect a turnout of about 30%, no more), DeSUS is making headlines on home ground. But not to overdo DeSUS angle too much (although we’ll get back to it), it must be said that the opposition had the good sense of scrapping another referendum which was to be held only a week after the one on regions.
You probably don’t know it, but in its anti-corruption drive this government decided to abolish an independent anticorruption commission and replace it with a coalition-controlled one. I shan’t bother you with details, suffice it to say that it’s personal between Drago Kos, head of the doomed commission and PM Janša. In any case, the anticorruption commision is to be no more and while the opposition tried to have this referendum held on the same day as the regional one (which would have made sense). But as this is not possible, the anticorruption commission is to be no more at least temporarily. Which brings us to…
Now that Boško Šrot confirmed what we all knew for a long time – that he is more or less the sole owner of Laško Brewery, he recevied a lot of bad press (not that he can’t afford it 😉 ). He became the textbook definition of corruption and centre of attention of the rediscovered anti-corruption drive of the ruling party.There are several problems with that picture, which – it seems – reflect on the polls as well:
Boško Šrot already made it clear that he made his moves in agreement with Janez Janša and that the two fell out only after Janša’s people started seriously mishandling Delo newspaper (the latter was part of the deal). This fact naturally did not go unnoticed by the public, especially when Igor Bavčar, Janša’s long time friend and CEO of Istrabenz, who took over his company in a similar manner. Not that the two are the only ones to have officially gotten filthy rich in the past couple of years. It is becoming more and more apparent that – willingly or unwillingly, but definitely contrary to preelection promises – Janša & Co. made it possible for a handful of people to continue ammasing wealth at an ever increasing pace.
Back to DeSUS and its president Karel Erjavec who just happens to be defence minister as well (what defence and pensions have in common other than “defending pensions” is way beyond me). In any case, under his tenure the ministry went about shopping for brand new heavy armoured vehicles and the 135 million deal ultimately went to Finnish Patria. Only to see questions being raised about what exactly Slovenian Army will get for this kind of money and ultimately whether or not people were bribed to secure the deal. At the moment there is at least one person in the cooler in Finland over it (whether or not charges will be pressed remains to be seen).
For a while it seemed that DeSUS’ president is in over his head but as the story drags on, more and more people from Janša’s immediate vicinity are popping up and that does little good to Janša’s ratings.
So after month-long break is seems that the right bloc managed to cut its losses, but failed to make any gains, while the left bloc (especially Pahor’s SD made at least some headway).
Pengovsky’s projection: Seeing the aftermath of these events will be interesting to say the least. However, right now the ruling coalition seems to have failed to grab the initiative. But PM Janša went on the record saying that he has little time to dwell on home issues, so one assumes that the balance of power will change dramatically when the Slovenia finishes its EU presidency on 31 June and PM Janša re-engages on home terrain with full force. Whether or not it will be soon enough and whether or not the referendum on regions will be boost his preelection campaing or whether it will backfire will be seen in about a month.