Franc Pukšič, the infamous mayor of Destrnik municipality and MP for Janez Janša’s SDS quit the party and switched over to Radovan Žerjav’s centre-right Slovenian People’s Party (SLS). Regardless of the fact that Pukšič is one of the more annoying appendages of Slovenian parliament (a fact which is not helped by his thick Štajerska drawl) it must be said that he was not just a cog in SDS’s voting machine, but a rather prominent four-term MP who got a lot of airtime and brownie points for the party. He cited disagreements over how SDS ‘s chief whip Jože Tanko went about the business as reasons for switching teams.
Franc Pukšič, formerly of SDS, now of SLS (source)
Although it may seem at first sight that Pukšič’s switch is of little importance (afterall, SDS still has 28 MPs left and the overall balance of power remains undisturbed), this may not be as innocent as we are led to believe. Naturally, SDS is trying to play the whole thing down, but there are a couple of interesting (worrying?) conclusions which can be drawn.
First and foremost. with elimination of Christian-Democratic Nova Slovenia from the parliamentary arena, a vacuum was created on the right side of the political spectrum and Janša is apparently moving to fill the vacuum. This was best demonstrated when he commented on the proposal of the new Family Code (which will provide for homosexual partners to adopt a child) saying that this provision defies the “law of nature” and as such has no place in Slovenian legal system. The problem is that this is not really Janša’s turf and he is having some difficulty adapting.
The other problem is that no matter how he tries, he will not be able to fill all the gaps left over by NSi, which means ample opportunity especially for SLS to bag some small and relativey easy victories. Pukšič’s switch is definitely one of the latter. And while the switch does no threaten the pariamentary future of SDS, it shows that one can actually leave SDS and survive. In a press release SDS admitted the defection, but immediately demanded that Pukšič return some 20+ k€ which the party invested into his relection. Pukšič will obviously do no such thing, despite being threatned with political oblivion which engulfed others who had left the party in earlied years
By spreading himself too thin and trying to fill the gaps left by NSi’s expulsion from
paradise parliament, Janša risks the danger of creating factions within the party which covers too much of the right side of the political spectrum. In a monolith party the likes of SDS, which is ran by the ultimate alpha-male, factions can be devastating. Add to that the fact that JJ is not getting any younger and that he had just married, hopefully focusing his attention to Doc Urška, he is in danger of starting to loose control over the party as challenges for his leadership start to mount once the rank-and-file sense that he is not all there. Not to mention that. despite the fact were talking about a single vote here, it should be noted that SDS now has one less MP and SLS has one more, which may become crucial in any of the near-miss votes which are bound to hit the parliament in the next year or so.
It may seem insignificant, but defection of Franc Pukšič (who once publicly slapped his student daughter after he caught her with a cigarette) may herald the advent of a more radical element inside the SDS, which may not get all the support it expects from the party’s
chairman leader. If left unchecked, this may well lead to Janša’s fall and removal from party positions.
So, while everyone expects a political crisis in the left bloc, it may very well be that shit it brewing on the other side of the left-right divide