The Trio is now officially The Quartet. Social Democrats, Zares, LDS and DeSUS, members of the future ruling coalition have apparently reached a deal on the coalition agreement. While the actual text of the agreement is not yet public, it is known that the agreement will detail government policies in a wide range of fields, from media to workers’ participation in profit sharing and pensions.
The Quartet (photo: Matej Povše/Dnevnik)
Especially the latter were a bit of a hold up, as DeSUS – the pensioners’ party demanded an across-the-table increase in pensions, but later agreed on an inverse increase, where people with pensions lower than € 500 per month will receive two € 150 bonuses in 2009, while those with larger pensions will receive proportionally lower bonuses (the bigger the pension the smaller the bonus). At this stage it is not exactly known what consession have been granted to Zares and LDS, but off the top of my head I’d say Zares stuck to its guns especially in the field of media legislation, while LDS remains a mystery. It is clear that – as a the smallest party in the new coalition – it had very little leverage and I wouldn’t be surprised if it kept its chips off the table for the next round of coalition negotiations.
As a sidenote: having a particular interest in the area, I’d like to reiterate the “four-point-test“, later ammended to a “three-point-test” which would in my opinion show whether the new government is serious about media freedom:
a) Change the law on RTV Slovenia, radically lowering the number of politically appointed members of both boards (to a max of, say, 25%).
b) The Law on media should be ammended, re-introducing the clause forbidding media contentration.
c) Forbid operators of future digital radio and television networks from becoming content providers as well.
Be that as it may, The Quarter now moves into dangerous territory: deciding who exactly will get a particular portfolio. It seems that Karl Erjavec of DeSUS succeeded with his demand of getting a ministry more than LDS, while it is also almost a given that there are some portfolios the PM-apparent Borut Pahor has already earmarked for his party and already has a specific person in mind to run it.
There are fifteen ministries up for grabs and up to two ministries without portfolio. Each ministry has a state secretary (something like an underminister), wheras the PM can name four additional state secretaries to serve directly under him. There are also fourteen Government Offices, some more political than other (ranging from Office for European Affairs to Slovene Intelligence Agency). Some of these GOs can be elevated to the level of a ministry without porftoilo.
And although they’re supposed to be left to mind their own business, one can be pretty sure that horse trading in names will also include parliamentary committees, as a party, which will have felt disenfranchised by its influence in the government will probably be compensated by a larger influence in the parliament.
In any case, things can still get ugly, as it is inevitable that egoes are about to clash. PM-apparent Borut Pahor already passed one test by cajoling Karl Erjavec back to the negotiating table. Now he faces an even bigger test, when he has to actually divide the influence and rule the government.
Today The Prez will hold consultations with leaders of all parliamentary groups, after which he will formally nominate his candidate for Prime Minister. He is expected to nominate Borut Pahor later today in or tommorow morning at the latest.
If, however, you’re feeling lucky, you can go over to Dr. Filomena’s and try to guess the exact composition of Pahor’s government. How many ministers will the next government have? Who will get which portfolio? How many of them will each party have? Place a bet with dr. Fil and win a prize!