How To Lose Voters And Alienate People

As pengovsky noted yesterday, Gregor Virant is more or less a political corpse, he just doesn’t know it yet. How so, one might ask, if the man is the president of the parliament (nominally the second most senior position in the country) and was the potential king-maker in Zoran Janković‘s PM bid. In short, the man is on top of his game. What could possibly go wrong?

I know it’s a good film. I just couldn’t resist…

In fact, everything that could go wrong, already did. Virant made every error in the book and the fact that he finds himself presiding the parliament is more a result of chance than of a carefully executed plan. Leader of the Gregor Virant Citizens’ List (DLGV) came to the forefront seemingly out of nowhere at the beginning of the election campaign and stole quite a bit of limelight from the eventual winner of the elections Zoran Janković. Previously of Janez Janša‘s SDS Virant went solo, apparently due to mounting discord with Janša, who – as proven time and again – does not tolerate independent-minded individuals within his inner circle for long. In short, he had plenty of political capital to fool around with. And then he went and blew it all (almost) at once.

Item 1: Money. ‘Nuff said.

Item 2: Playing both ends against the middle. You don’t negotiate with both main contenders at once the same time, especially not if they’re political and ideological opposites. This is not the Cold War and you’re not Tito, Naser and Nehru combined.

Item 3: Backstabbing. When you negotiate, you do it in good faith. You don’t piss in your potential partner’s pool, even if it means you end up being president of the parliament.

Item 4: Jumping ship. You better have a good excuse. Saying that the other side wasn’t serious about it when you all but closed the deal is a sorry-ass excuse. Also, saying at first that Janković is “dictating terms rather than negotiating, hence no deal” and then saying that “he’ll agree to just about anything, hence no deal” is just pitiful.

Item 5: Janez Janša. Virant got points for splintering from Janša. By rejoining him only a couple of months later, he’ll be making a lot of his supporters unhappy. Also, by following Janša and applying the same scare tactic on his MPs (instructing them not to pick up ballots for the secret PM vote), he is turning out to be just a bleached copy of his former party boss. And no-one likes unoriginal people.

Item 6: No more kingmaker. By allying himself with Janša, Virant lost his political sex-appeal as kingmaker. This role now yet again belongs to Karl Erjavec (oh, the irony!) just as it did in 2004. As a result, Erjavec is in a much better position to dicatate terms to Janša than Virant.

Item 7: Reality check. If by any chance Virant contemplates playing hard-ball against Janša as well, he’ll end up alienating both centre- and right-wing of his base, not to mention losing whatever friends he has left in the parliament.

Item 8: Public opinion. In a recent poll by Delo newspaper, 25% of voters blamed Virant for the political stalemate. 27% blamed Janez Janša. And that was before he jumped ship on Janković and way before the vote yesterday.

A lot of people were surprised how fast Zares of Gregor Golobič and LDS of Katarina Kresal went down the drain in opinion polls in the previous term. Virant’s DLGV is well poised to achieve a new speed record in that department.

And it would be a shame, really.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

6 thoughts on “How To Lose Voters And Alienate People”

  1. You almost make me feel sorry for the man.

    I would be tempted to add yesterday’s trick with these parties not allowing their MPs to cast a vote in fear of one of them voting the “wrong” way, in effect refuting the notion that MPs are independent in their decisions and act as representatives of the entire nation and not only the portion that elected them into office.

    Were I a right-wing MP, I’d consider such an order an insult. It seems these guys and gals have little self-esteem.

  2. Some facts, the FDV obviously doesn’t teach:

    Fact 1: Have you actually seen a ballot paper? Let me help, it’s an A3 sized sheet of paper with plenty of parties listed, a voter has to choose one PARTY and clearly mark it. In other words, voters elect parties, not actual representatives’ names! So noone of the 88 MPs (the only exceptions are both representatives of ethnic minorities) has right to claim “I was elected into the parliament and now I am free to do whatever I want”. Wrong, the party discipline is logical in this case. BTW, long time ago SDS proposed a different electoral system that would legitimize puckism (among other consequences). The ŠpetirMaher™ (© Niko Kavčič) “advised” to vote against the proposal and I take it you obeyed him.

    Fact 2: It’s very important to fully understand it, so please take a sheet of paper and a pen (computers and other copy – paste utilities are STRICTLY prohibited!!) and write the following sentence at least 100 times: “MPs represent their voters, not Kučan and his gang!”. When finished, publish a scan or a photo of the paper. If you wish you may write the sentence in Slovenian as well. Since your name sounds Russian I’ll also accept it if it’s your mother tongue.

    Fact 3: Those voters who want the communist repression to continue, voted for one of four Murgle certified incarnations of communists (PS, SD, LSD, Zahec), not for any other party and by no means for Virant (khmm, the Assembly for the Republic, khmm). Most of them for the Seropositive Slovenia as von Murglor “suggested”. And who are actually people who voted for Virant’s list? One group desperately wishes economic freedom, lower taxes, less administration obstacles, less public sector parasites, and some real reforms (not the cosmetic ones as Borat’s government proposed). Those people did actually not vote for Virant but for Šušteršič, Pezdir and Štih. The other group also desperately wishes to clean the communist Augean stables in the European last communist stronghold. They were either disappointed when Janša failed to do so in 2004-2008, they want to see “les visages noveaux” or they just want Janša to have more sincere and more competent coalition partners than SLS, Kahl or, God forbid!, progressive fractions of the SD around Pahor. All those people would rather have their “tools” shortened than voting for communists and they clearly mandated Virant to form an anticommunist coalition with their natural ally, the SDS. Now combine it with the lesson from the previous fact and go figure. Well, I can reveal you a secret, much much more than 92,000 people were tempted to vote for this list, unfortunately Virant never managed to convince them he would never ever betray them and bring their votes to Janković, so they choose a safer option and secured their votes with the SDS. Yes, I am among them, now you may find your voodoo equipment and start ritual. Oh yes, if you wonder what Virant’s voters really think, just go ahead.

    Fact 4: There are several LEGAL ways not to support a PM candidate (yes, also confirmed by a well known jurist Miro Cerar Jr., a son of a red taliban Zdenka “not every crime is a criminal act” Cerar), including casting an invalid ballot or not casting a ballot at all. And if you find the latter method “immoral”, why wasn’t it “immoral” 12 years ago, when LSD resorted to exactly the same trick when Bajuk was a PM candidate. And why was SD’s policy (each representative had to show his/her ballot to other SD representatives) more “moral”?

    Fact 5: Why on Earth voters shouldn’t have right to know what their representatives actually do and who they indeed support? Why on Earth the representatives shouldn’t have right to work transparently even if laws ALLOW (not DEMAND; the difference is obvious!) the opposite? Why should “dishonest” representatives have a chance to play hide and seek games for too long? You know, representatives are paid above average salaries. Have you ever asked where the funds come from? A hint: it doesn’t grow on trees…

    Fact 6: Noone was threatend and Janša, Novak, Žerjav and Virant did not prevent anyone to go and vote. Each potential Pucko had a chance to do the same as the original Pucko did: “Sorry guys, I’m just a communist cookoo’s egg, now I’m gonna betray you and the voters and support the communists” or “Sorry guys, I have serious financial problems and I would desperately need a thaler, sorry once again”.

    Fact 7: Janković “defeated” Janša with a very narrow margin, approx. 2% of all voting participants. Each measuring instruments has a measurement tolerance, just find some instruments at home or in a store and check their tolerances. You’ll notice that it rarely drops below 1% at “household available” instruments. Of course very accurate instruments also exist at CERN, NASA, specialized metrology labs… but you better don’t ask about their cost! And how was the voting outcome “measured”? I am afraid, that ballots were counted manually. If you withdraw a larger amount of banknotes from a bank, a clerk will count them several times using a counting machine and then he’ll confirm the amount by manual counting and even asking you to recount and reverify the amount yourself. Are ballot papers counted and verified in a similar way? I guess, not. In this case I’m afraid the “measurement error” (unintentional, of course) may well exceed 2%. In other words, the result resembles Florida 2000 or Izola 2006 and Janković’s “victory” is anything but clear or obvious. It was right that he was offered a chance first, now it’s fair that Janša (who could also be a possible winner) gets a chance.

    Fact 8: Is a relative winner the only one with the right to form a cabinet. Well, let’s go into the country, where Janković was born. Who won Serbian parliament elections in 2003 and 2007? Khmmm, Šešelj did (officially his puppet Tomislav Nikolić did as his master is still based in Den Haag). How come, that Serbian history doesn’t know anything about radical ministers during this period? Shall we go to Austria? Who became a chancellor after the 1999 parliamentary elections? Khmmm, Wolfgang Schüssel did, from the 3rd ranked (!!!) ÖVP, while the “winning” Viktor Klima’s SPÖ ended in an opposition!

  3. @drfilomena:

    point, to an extent…


    Fact: Nothing you wrote proves me wrong. While relevant unto themselves, the things you write about have virtually nothing to do with what I wrote. Fact of the matter is that Virant is politically dead. He made sure of that himself. Just sit back and watch…

  4. @SH “(magnetogram 2.izredne seje DZ RS)
    MAG. KATARINA HOČEVAR (PS DLGV): Spoštovani kandidat! Zdi se mi pošteno, da vam kot relativnemu zmagovalcu volitev tudi osebno povem, zakaj vam danes ne bom zaupala svojega glasu. Poleg dejstev, ki jih je navedel že vodja naše poslanske skupine, in razlogov, zakaj vas Državljanska lista ne bo podprla, mi dovolite, da vam orišem še svoj osebni razlog.
    V času, ko ste vodili poslovni sistem Mercator, je moja družina za to trgovsko podjetje pridelovala zelenjavo. George Washington je dejal, da “narod nima prihodnosti, če ne dojame, da je enako dostojanstva v tem, da obdelujemo polje ali pišemo pesmi.” Gospod Janković, ko smo pridelano zelenjavo prodajali v sistem, ki ste ga vodili, je bilo dostojanstvo, da si kmet, težko ohraniti. 200 tolarjev, takratnih, ste nam, na primer, namenili za kilogram zelenjave, ki ste jo v trgovini prodajali za 750 takratnih tolarjev. Ob tem, da smo bili brez možnosti ugovora deležni rabatov na rabate, celo dobrodelni prispevek smo plačevali dobavitelji. Res pa je, da smo plačilo dobili, čeprav je takrat že zapadel sneg. In zaradi takšnega odnosa vam tudi zaradi slovenskih pridelovalcev danes ne morem zaupati svojega glasu. Pri upravljanju države si namreč ne želim takšnega ravnanja, kot sem mu bila priča oziroma sem ga bila deležna kot dobaviteljica trgovskega podjetja, ki ste ga vodili.
    Tudi jaz se strinjam, da je Ljubljana najlepše mesto na svetu, želim pa si, da bi bilo tudi slovensko podeželje najlepše na svetu. Prihajam iz vasi, kjer nimamo širokopasovnega interneta niti asfaltne ceste. Takšnih odročnih krajev in vasi je v Sloveniji še veliko. In želim si mandatarja, za katerega bom prepričana, da bo dal večji prispevek in pomen slovenskemu podeželju.
    Hvala lepa. / aplavz/”
    You should take a paper and define what communism is. Than you should make a questionnaire and compare the definitions with each Slovene party.
    The above example is for me a typical case of communist thinking – or do you know some non-communist countries where retailers buy form farmers per 700 units and than sell it for 200 – what the lady with a master degree would like Mercator to do.
    I am curious what dr. Janez Šušteršič, the economic guru of the Virant party, has commented on this?

  5. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m
    not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.

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