Cojones

As the Queen leaves Slovenia (in case you missed it, I did post a video of her visit to Prešeren square), coalition builiding takes the stage front and centre once again.

pahor_erjavec.jpg
The two amigos (source)

In case you forgot all about it, you can bring yourself up to speed here, here and here (and if you call now, here as well. If lines are busy, call later, but do call).

According to various reports the text of coalition agreement is more or less agreed upon. Social Democrats, Liberal Democrats and Zares hit it off quite well and have settled their policy differences some days ago. And while the three parties have – publicly at least – postponed the question of who exactly will get which portfolio, Karl Erjavec of DeSUS stirred the pot quite a bit when he flat out demanded the position of defence minister (which he holds in in the outgoing government of Janez Janša as well).

However, in an unexpected show of cojones Borut Pahor categorically rejected his demand, bringing their meeting to an end after mere five minutes. Apparently, it went something like this

Pahor: “Welcome, Karl! Look, you can pick any portfoilo save defence.”
Erjavec: “No. I want to continue as minister of defence!”
Pahor: “No go.”
Erjavec: “OK, bye!”

How’s that for brevity of coalition negotaions, huh? 😀

After Bojan Šrot‘s SLS opted out of any potential coalition deals with The Trio, Erjavec (correctly) calculated that he is the only really viable option for Pahor to form a working coalition. However, he terribly overestimated his bargaining position. Keeping Erjavec as defence minister would heavily damage Pahor’s crediblity, as much of left bloc’s campaing was built on the Patria Affair and calls for Erjavec to step down as minister of defence. Furthermore, rumours have it that Pahor engaged in some underground diplomacy and found out that SLS could be persuaded to start negotiating were Janez Podobnik to keep his job as minister of enviroment.

If correct, this information was the carbon in Pahor’s balls of steel when he nixed Karl Erjavec. But it was still a big gamble. SLS could go either way, leaving Pahor out in the cold with his pants down. But the bulj of the work was done by DeSUS’s MPs, who went apeshit when Erjavec walked out of the meeting with Pahor. Since they are the seven votes Erjavec is bargaining with, they raised their voice and after a weekend of arm twisting Erjavec caved in. Officially, he was applauded for taking a tough line against Pahor, raising the ante, but there was a lot of barely veiled criticsm by MPs – of which only two are actually party members. Which was something Erjavec has to consider when he tries to impose party discipline.

In any case, if all the junior coalition parties (Zares, DeSUS and LDS) confim the text of the coalition agreement, then the policies of the new government are set. And Pahor is off to do some heavy-duty human resource managing…

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pengovsky

Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

17 thoughts on “Cojones”

  1. If Pahor had been dealing with a ‘strong’ party leader as in one without any notable opposition within his party, thing might have been different, but as things stand, I don’t think it took too big a pair of those to say no and really mean it. It’s not as if Pahor is really the only one making the calls here, is it. Slovenian politics have moved into an area beyond one-man-band philosophy (again) and the fact that decisions have to be made based on arguments and negotiations rather than adopted by way of imposing authority signals considerable changes for the way politics will be done in the future. Hopefully.

  2. @Pero: Pa res… Bom uredil asap. Hvala za opozorilo!

    @dr. fil: Pahor could have balked, since he needs DeSUS for a majority government. Many expected him to. I agree that it wasn’t difficult to say no, but JJ didn’t say no four years ago and that enabled Erjavec to drive a hard bargain.

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