The SDS of Janez Janša and DLGV of Gregor Virant had a bit of a fall-out in the past few days over the position of the State Prosecution office after the ongoing reshuffle of public administration. The whole thing escalated into a very public spat with DLGV saying that SDS made an unacceptable offer when they offered that the coalition agreement be suspended in the part which provided for the prosecution to be moved under the jurisdiction of the minister of interior, but under the condition that justice minister Senko Pličanič of DLGV resigns if no viable results are shown within a year.
Janša and Virant a month before the elections (photo: Borut Kranjc/Mladina)
Now, as you very well know, little love is lost between DLGV and pengovsky and truth be told, they’ve more or less themselves to blame for this latest cock-up. It all goes back to the time when Gregor Virant thought he has everyone by their balls and was trying to play both ends (Janković and Janša) against the middle during the coalition negotiations. Back then he demanded that the prosecution be moved under the interior portfolio, having already earmarked his man Jani Soršak for the post. But once Virant gave the finger to Zoran Janković, he was stuck with Janša no matter what and all of a sudden found that his ego was writing checks his body couldn’t cash. Janša came back hard, had Soršak move out of the arena via a quick-and-dirty smear campaign and had his very own Vinko Gorenak installed as minister of interior.
Naturally, DLGV had a very quick change of heart and demanded that the prosecution remain within the justice department “for reasons of political hygiene” (in other words, they saw the light). They were not heard and the government (including DLGV ministers) approved the reorganisation of the public administration, moving prosecution into the interior portfolio. Thus an SDS minister had within his sphere of influence both the police and the prosecution at the time when his party boss is being tried for charges of corruption and bribery.
Still, DLGV wouldn’t let go of it as Pličanič and Virant demanded the coalition agreement be amended and prosecution returned to the justice portfolio, which was part crying over spilt milk, part gutsy move. You see Janša and his SDS could have stonewalled the issue. The move was made, decision passed, case closed, et cetera. Instead they wanted to teach Virant a lesson, offering him to move the prosecution back to justice department, provided that minister Pličanič resigns his post if no results are shown within a year.
Yep, you read it right the first time. A senior coalition party said a minister of another coalition party must pack his bags should he not perform according to its expectations. This fact alone speaks volumes about how the SDS sees the coalition as its own backyard where everybody dances to their tune. The goal of the exercise was not just protecting political gains brought to them on the platter by way of Virant being overambitious early in the game, they had to humiliate DLGV as well. Had the latter accepted the deal, it would have thrown itself at Janša’s feet and Pličanič might as well have resigned immediately, because the SDS does not specify what exactly it means by “viable results of the prosecution”. Presumably shaping the justice after their own image.
Be that as it may, DLGV obviously had to turn down the offer if it wanted to keep some sort of a face. In fact, by saying that the offer insulting, DLGV came as close to a “fuck you” as humanly possible without them being carried out of the coalition legs-first. Whether or not this is a first real crack in the coalition remains to be seen. Sure enough, the SDS faithful went after Virant and Pličanič with full force when the news broke. But then again, they were praising DLGV as a god-send when Virant picked Janša over Janković, so their acid out-pour was to be expected. But since the end result equals zero and the prosecution remains with the ministry of the interior, you can be sure that neither side will soon forget the acts of one another. But at the very least, the DLGV managed to wash their hands of their foley and can now put the blame for any future cock-ups in this department squarely at the SDS. Oh, and one more thing: this is the final proof that Virant’s election adventure was not just a Janša spin-off, but rather the real deal.