Just as pengovsky was about to declare the European election campaign in Muddy Hollows boring as fuck, the final TV debate provided drama, fireworks and overall joy at something finally happening.
Because if there ever was a more boring campaign in Slovenia, pengovsky must have slept through it. Because for the most part these past few weeks have been a goddamn snoozefest of biblical proportions.
“I didn’t deserve this” said minister of development and European cohesion policy Marko Bandelli (SAB), butthurt as he announced his resignation on 13 November thus setting off a rocky ten-day period for the government of Marjan Šarec. And while the main event of the last few days were the 2018 local elections and some surprising results, the bad blood between various coalition members burst in the open almost as soon as the polls closed.
By itself, the Bandelli thing is a pretty straightforward case of the Dunning-Kruger effect in action. The erstwhile mayor of Komen, known for his colourful language and thin skin was a somewhat surprising pick for the non-descript post of assistant beancounter minister for EU cohesion funds. And indeed it turned out that the ambition got the better of him. In fact, we will never know whether Marko Bandelli would have made a good minister without portfolio in charge of EU cohesion funds, because the man turned out to be spectacularly inept at being a senior government official as such.
You might not realise it, but this coming Sunday local (municipal) elections are to be held in all of 212 municipalities in Slovenia. If you’re asking how in the holy fuck did Muddy Hollows end up with two hundred and twelve municipalities, pengovsky can only say: don’t ask.
Destrnik hopeful Franc Pukšič sending mixed messages (source)
But if you insist and want to have your mind blown, suffice it to say it has to do with some half-baked decentralisation back in the 1990s, when the old commune system was dissolved and municipalities formed on the principle of “natural gravitation”, i.e. defining local societal centres and setting up a fairly flexible set of criteria for forming municipalities. This link provides a nice path down the rabbit hole that are Slovenian municipalities.
One of the peculiarties of the Slovenian parliamentary system are the separate votes on the prime minister and on their cabinet. Which means that once he was appointed PM, Marjan Šarec was only half-done. But as posturing slowly gave way to reality he and his coalition partners were able to agree on a division of labour which broadly goes along the lines of leaders of junior coalition partners getting all the high-profile jobs, LMŠ getting the PM spot and all the crappy jobs with the remaining cabinet members having merely to show up on time and not to screw up too much.
The one thing that separates this government from the previous twelve is the fact that Šarec will have two former PMs in his cabinet. Alenka Bratušek and Miro Cerar have both dealt with their own respective large-scale crises and will be able to provide Šarec with some first-hand advice on handling the situation if things suddenly go tits up. Provided, of course, the new PM will want to listen in the first place. Because he already demonstrated that he can have a bit of a fuck you attitude. But we’ll get there. So, apart from Šarec, who’s who in the new pecking order?
With the last of the committee hearings slowly drawing to a close, the newly-minted Slovenian PM Marjan Šarec will submit his entire cabinet for parliamentary approval later this week and presumably get his government up and running. Thus a protracted three-month episode which culminated in a five-member coalition and a minority government, supported by the left-most party in the parliament, will finally come to an end. But, in the words of the worst British finance minister of the 20th century, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of an end. But it is, perhaps, an end of a beginning.
Marjan Šarec impersonating a PM (left) and being one. (source and source)
While this blog was mum due to vacay, pengovsky did a few media appearances on the coalition clusterfuck. Financial Times, The Europeans podcast and The Economist were among the victims (although, to the latter’s credit, apparently my bit got edited out). N1, a Croatian private news network, even had their viewers endure a 15-minute interview where yours truly bumbles along in Croatian. The gist of all this attention was two-fold: how come Janez Janša didn’t get to be PM and how come Šarec did?