MPs are gearing for a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Janez Janša tomorrow and the heat is on. Positive Slovenia nominated acting party leader Alenka Bratušek for the post and if things don’t change too much until tomorrow, Janez Janša will have been voted out of office in about 18 hours.
That things undoubtedly went south for Janša became obvious yesterday, when both SLS ministers, Radovan Žerjav and Franc Bogovič (who is to replace Žerjav at the helm of the party) tendered their resignations. In response, Janša tweeted about Žerjav that “the worst minister of economy this country ever had left the post”. A classic poor-me-fuck-you response by Ivan, the reason for which became obvious a bit later in the day, when Žerjav said he’s in favour of the no-confidence vote. This probably clinched the deal for Bratušek, since any vote without SLS on-board would be tricky, especially since not every MP of the hastily assembled coalitions (PS, SD, DeSUS, DL and now SLS) will vote for Bratušek and (by extension) against Janša.
The said tweet
Now, the problem with Janša’s tweet is many-fold: First and foremost and for the umpteenth time, this is no way for a prime minister to communicate. I mean, ferfucksake dude! I realise you’re convinced everyone is out to get you, but have some self-respect. Second: While it is true that there’s precious little to be said about Žerjav as minister of economy, it was Ivan who nominated him. OK, so there was a fair amount of horse-trading involved when Janša was forming his coalition, but it’s not as if anyone held a gun to Ivan’s head while he was picking ministers. Quite the opposite, one would think. Thirdly, tweeting in this fuck-you-very-much attitude makes him an ever more sore loser than he already is, especially after Žerjav replied via SLS’ twitter account thanking Ivan for the assessment of his work and wishing him all the best in the future.
Who knew: Žerjav is capable of sarcasm
But tomorrow’s no-confidence vote is not the only fall from grace which befell the stricken PM. Adding insult to injury, the Slovenian PEN club is set on ruling whether to expel Janša due to his “public statements in violation of PEN’s charter to defend freedom of expression”.
When it rains, it, well, poors
Despite writing his first book in 1992 (Premiki, Mladinska knjiga), Janša was made a member of PEN in 1988 immediately after his arrest by the Federal Army. At the time, the PEN club stretched its rules a bit, but since it was all for a good cause, no-one really minded. Well, a quarter-of-a-century later, the tables have turned and those same people who stood up for him are now standing up to him. Problem is, Ivan don’t take that too well. In fact, he blasted PEN saying it had degenerated into a den of informants of Yugoslav secret police (see here for Google translate)
Nor did he take it well when the Supreme Court (not to be confused with the Constitutional Court) denied him an injunction against the anti-graft commission. Janša disputed the report and sued to have the anti-graft report removed from the web pending the ruling. The Administrative Court denied the last request and when Ivan petitioned the Supreme Court to revise the decision, citing violation of his human rights (“I am at the peak of my political career”, he wrote), he was denied again and told that “his human rights were not violated in any way, shape or form, since being a prime minister is not an individual’s human right“. Ouch. Basics, of course, but… ouch.
Ivan response was predictable: “The decision was expected. The PM has no human rights. Bull mastifs do, if they belong to the right owner” (Google translate here). Lovely, innit? Bringing back the drummed-up scandal which basically wiped out Katarina Kresal and where every single charge was dropped, because there simply was no proof. But that of course did not stop Janša from bringing it up. And the list goes on. Recently, his daughter was in the media after the anti-graft commission concluded t she and son of Jože Tanko, SDS’ parliamentary chief landed jobs at the state-controlled gas company after undue pressure was exerted. Not a full week had passed when the Party-friendly media started clamouring that anti-graft’s commission second-in-command Rok Praprotnik had landed that particular job not on merit but because he knew the right people.
By now you’re starting to see the pattern, right? Whenever Ivan or the Party land in deep shit, they start throwing it around in every direction possible, hoping that some will stick one way or another. That they are brazen in mixing fact and fiction in doing that doesn’t bother them one bit. Thus they’ve launched an “anonymous letter” alleging the PM hopeful Alenka Bratušek plagiarised part of her masters thesis. This comes after a string of high-profile revelations of MPs, elected officials and managers stealing academic work of others and claiming it as their own. Or simply forging academic credentials. It’s not that the SDS would be the only party with such a credibility problem, but theirs were among the most problematic cases, as Branko Marinič was forced to forfeit his MP post after receiving a suspended sentence in a criminal case, while Alenka Koren Gomboc was forced out by a procedural trick by her own party, after a long running scandal. And today yet another SDS MP was faced with allegations that his masters thesis is not entirely his own. So when the “anonymous concerned citizen” found out Bratušek mistyped the title of an otherwise credited source, they made it into an affair of practically biblical proportions. Indeed, it seems nothing but bad news for poor Ivan. If if rains, it poors. Pun very much intended.
We’ve come all this way and the vote hasn’t even been taken. One person who must feel slightly miffed about all of this is the super-minister Žiga Turk, who wrote up a 60-page response to the ill-conceived interpelation proceeding initiated by the SD. Pengovsky wrote back then that was one of the stupider moves SD made lately (and there were no shortage of them) but added that the stupidity was matched by Turk’s initial reply. Well, the full text only furthers the image.
The self-styled “humble engineer who sometimes just doesn’t get modern culture” went all out against SD, calling it a relict of the past, reeking of naphthalene and not even having come as far as Deng Xiaoping had in the 60s with his “it doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white” doctrine. A classic text which would make Dick Cheney and Karl Rove proud not only disputes everything SD holds against Turk, but extols some of those very same things on the grounds of market economy. Also, at first he claims to have fought vigorously for this budget which was slashed almost 20% due to austerity policies, but a bit further down admits that there’s nothing he can do if there’s no money. Well, it seems there’s lack of money and then there’s lack of money (if you catch my drift).
Also, he extols President Pahor’s political leadership while he was running the SD, while at the same accusing his government of being the worst there ever was (he must not have gotten the memo about Žerjav, though). All this did not stop him from taking credit for projects that were pretty much near completion before he took office. Indeed, there wasn’t such an ideology-heavy text in Slovenian politics since, well, since he was writing about “re-communisation of Slovenia” or indulging in Haidt’s pseudo-science. Again, a pattern. Who would have thought, eh? Too bad Janša will probably get voted out of office first, denying Turk from standing front-and-centre, telling those fucking Commies off. It would have been quite a sight.
Not that there will be any shortage of fun in the next few weeks. Bratušek looks poised to oust Janša, but that only means Janša is in a care-taker capacity until she forms a government. And that might prove harder than it looks, since SLS will not be joining that particular party and both SD and DL are making noises about early elections sans an interim government not being such a bad idea.
Tomorrow will be ugly. Bring popcorn.