As you know by now, during yesterdays parliamentary debate on his dismissal from office Karl Erjavec walked up to the podium and announced his resignation from the post of minister for environment and urban planning. He said that he realised that the whole thing was political and that he didn’t want to see the PM suffering any more than he has to and said that “we may see each other again”
PM Pahor and minister Erjavec, side by side (source: RTVSLO)
His resignation was as much a face-saving measure as it was anything else. It seems kind of hard to believe that it was only during the debate that Erjavec put two and two together and saw that he was being cut off because he completely fell out of favour with the rest of the coalition rather than because the Court of Audit proposed that he be replaced. What is interesting, though, is the fact that Pahor seems to have started developing some teflon abilities himself. There he was, in the middle of the parliament, saying why he had no choice but to replace Erjavec while the latter was sitting next to him, as if Pahor was Erjavec’s last best hope for survival.
The amount of manipulation and political cheek necessary for this kind of humiliation shows that Pahor is nevertheless made of stronger stuff that his opponents (and some partners too) would have us believe. Pahor was wringing hands, shifting from one foot to another and used body language as if he is uncomfortable with having to dismiss Erjavec. But given their early fallout during coalition-building this seems highly unlikely.
It was, rather, a case of Pahor having others do his dirty work for him, while he – although he started the whole shebang – tried to appear above it. Pengovsky may be reaching here, but it seemed as if Pahor was trying to imitate the style of the late Janez Drnovšek. He may not have succeeded entirely, but one must concede that he looked very prime-ministerial for the first time in a while.
This leaves only three questions: 1) Will DeSUS choose to stay in the coalition, 2) what will Karl “ex-teflon” Erjavec be doing from now on and 3) who will succeed him. The answer to 1) is more or less “yes” although a formal decision is yet to be taken. The answer to 3) is slightly murkier, as we’ve seen yesterday. Pengovsky raised the possibility of Pahor taking the portfolio temporarily himself some time ago and it is said to be be greater now than ever. The answer to 2), however, could prove to be fantastically fucked up. Word has it that Pahor offered Erjavec a job of advisor to PM, not unlike when he took Dimitrij Rupel on board. Should this trully happen, Pahor’s immediate cabinet would literally prove to be a political waste-management plant.
It would, in a endlessly ironic twist of event also bring a full circle to DeSUS’ political influence. Namely, when Janez Janša won elections in 2004 he invited DeSUS into the coalition and gave its then-president Anton Rous a job as an advisor to PM. All hell broke loose within the party and the membership replaced Rous with Erjavec who then became defence minister. And now, DeSUS president is again poised to become “just” an advisor to PM. It’s just that both party president and prime minister are different now. Game, Pahor.