With deadline only hours away, PM-designate Alenka Bratušek finally submitted her list of nominees for ministerial posts yesterday evening. The name everyone was waiting for was that of the new head bean-counter (usually known as minister of finance) which was apparently also the toughest nut to crack. Media was rife with speculation about possible nominees and it would seem those who projected the first female minister of finance were not all that wrong. Namely, Bratušek said on live TV she wanted a woman to fill the post, but none would take the the job which ultimately befell Uroš Čufer, head of NLB asset management centre.
When Bratušek emerged as the person to de-throne Janša, she subscribed to the usual mine-will-be-a-government-of-experts rhetorical bullshit. Save a possible technocratic Monti-stlye administration, every government is political. Even more, political theory is clear on the fact that every decision taken by a government (even a technocratic one) is political. Thus it is only right this government is a political one. Because plenty of political decisions will have to be made. Starting with what to do about the banking sector. And before you start: yes, the decision on how to tackle the crisis in inherently political. In fact, it is ideological by its very nature. And when someone tells you that we should leave it to the experts, that in itself is a grossly ideological position.
It’s OK, we’re here now
So in this respect, the frankness of political appointees to ministerial posts is refreshing and shows that Bratušek will – at the beginning at least – not try to hide behind “experts” of various denominations. The nominations also create (or, at least, try to create) a sense of normalcy. It’s as if the coalition is trying to say “It’s OK, we’re here now”.
Whether or not this is true, remains to be seen. On one hand this country could use a break from the nervous and tense environment that Janša administration deliberately cultivated, but on the other hand the problems of this country go way beyond a political option subscribing to crack-pot political, economic and social theories. The problems are deep-rooted and most likely beyond the capacity of this government to solve them. In fact, the primary role of this government is not to actually solve the problems, but rather to create an environment where socio-economical and political problems can being being solved. Yes, it’s that bad. That Bratušek was shopping for a finance minister nominee practically until the 11th hour only reiterates the fact.
The other blunder she made early on was about reinstating the ministry of culture (which is good) and asking the civil society to provide a nominee (which is just plain dumb). Again: a government is an inherently political body. Putting a non-political person in charge of a portfolio makes him or her enter the political arena and become a politician. Thus asking the civil society to provide a nominee is akin to asking it to stop being what it is. Sadly, some groups within the protest movement have fallen for this. Not-so-sadly, Bratušek has smarted out of this blunder and put forward Uroš Grilc, head of culture department at the municipality of Ljubljana and the man who squeezed ludicrous amounts of money for cultural project from mayor Zoran Janković.
Speaking of Jay-Z, he is widely expected to abide by the conditions of his letter of resignation which stipulate its coming into effect the moment Bratušek sees her cabinet sworn in. Which can happen as soon as Wednesdays next. Unless rumours of a brewing rebellion within Gregor Viratn’s Citizen’s List are true. Also, shit it hitting the fan in DeSUS, where Karl Erjavec is crushing what little opposition he has left in the party. But more on that in the coming days.
Doing it right
One thing Zoran Janković failed to understand when attempting to form his coalition back in 2011 was that you simply have to have leaders of your coalition parters in the cabinet. It’s a matter of political prestige, yes and far from a perfect solution. But right now, that’s the name of the game. Janković tried otherwise and failed. Not just because of this, but also because of this. Bratušek and her team seem to have learned their lesson. Which is why Igor Lukšič of Social Democrats is the only coalition party leader who rejected a ministerial post. Probably because he calculated early elections are closer than they appear and he wants to be as “clean” of government politics as possible. We’ll see if he made a good bet.
Here’s the full list of Bratušek ministerial nominees:
Minister for Foreign Affairs: Karl Erjavec (DeSUS)
Minister of Interior and Public Administration: Gregor Virant (DL)
Minister of Defence: Roman Jakič (PS)
Minister of Family, Health and Social Affairs: Andreja Kopač Mrak (SD)
Minister of Education, Science and Sports: Jernej Pikalo (SD)
Minister of Culture: Uroš Grilc (PS)
Minister of Justice: Senko Pličanič (DL)
Minister of Economy: Stanko Stepišnik (PS)
Minister of Infrastructure: Igor Maher (DL)
Minister of Health: Tomaž Gantar (DeSUS)
Minister of Finance: Uroš Čufer (PS)
Minister of Agriculture and Environment: Dejan Židan (PS)
Minister w/o portfolio in charge of Slovenes Abroad: Tina Komel (PS)
P.S.: tittage to follow later in the day