The Week You Wouldn’t Trade Places With Zoran Janković for All The Farms In Cuba

To say that last week was bad for Ljubljana mayor Zoran Janković is a gross understatement. The truth is it was just south of a disaster, a shambolic series of events which probably hasn’t ended yet and will one way or another have serious repercussions down the road.

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Worried (photo: TheFirm™)

It started with the National Investigation Bureau (NPU) filing an indictment against several people including the mayor over the Stožice sports complex affair, sixteen months after the cops raided Janković’s home and office. The case seems to have focused on what the NPU believes was a false contract between Sport Ljubljana (a city-owned institute running all sport facilities) and GREP, the Stožice developer. The contract, the cops claim, was signed only to give the appearance of GREP making it appear as if it had secured enough lease contracts for a consortium of banks to approve a 150 million loan for the project.

The loan, albeit topping at 115 million was indeed granted, the project went tits up financially with retail part being only half-finished (the stadium and arena are fully functional) and all hell breaking loose some weeks ago when the NPU raided the house of defence minister Roman Jakič who signed the contract in question, having headed Sport Ljubljana at the time. Jakič, too, was indicted and had maintained he will resign, should the court accept the indictment as valid. Jay-Z, on the other hand, intends to do no such thing. Not yet, anyhow.

But only a day later he lost another legal battle (well, the city did). A developer sued the city, claiming it had sold him land that wasn’t municipal to begin with. Some months ago both the NPU and the developer filed charges against Janković, but the court’s decision to invalidate the sale gives quite a bit of impetus to the whole thing. The immediate effect being the city will have to return a million euros it got from the now sale, as for the rest, time will tell. Ad then, just to top it off, Thursday last the cops descended upon the City Hall yet again, this time apparently investigating the much-advertised quid-pro-quo approach Janković employs running the city. Namely, he maintained from day one of assuming office that companies operating in the city and making a profit should give something back to the city. And so donations started pouring in. But while the NPU has no proof that donations went to places other than city coffers (NPU head Majhenič said do the other day), it was the manner in which donations were allegedly secured that bothers the cops.

Namely, the mayor is under suspicion of tying these donations directly to big city contracts, awarding them to the company which promised to give more back to the city. In this, Janković claims no wrong-doing and viciously defends his approach. And indeed it seems as if the cops and the prosecution will have a hard time arguing their case on this issue. Corruption and bribery as criminal act is notoriously hard to prove and in this case the beneficiary of the “pay-offs” is apparently not an individual but the community. But, pengovsky is told, it is the alleged act of bribery that counts, not to whom the pay-off was made. Anyways, point is Janković is in a pretty substantial heap of manure right now and will have to spend a considerable amount of energy and resources to deal with it.

Especially before the upcoming municipal elections this autumn. Which is why a theory was floated early on that the repeated visits by the local FBI are a form of not so gentle a hint to let it go and slowly fade out of the picture. The only problem is Janković doesn’t take hints. What is more plausible is that NPU felt they finally have enough to move on and are now fishing around for more things that might stick on the proverbially Teflon-skinned mayor. It all comes at a very awkward time for Zoki who is due to announce his decision on whether to run for mayor for the third full term (bur for the fourth time as he got elected twice last time around).

The big announcement is scheduled for 9 May, Liberation day, when the City Council meets for a special session to celebrate the city’s single most important anniversary. The drama and flair suggest a monumental decision although Janković stubbornly refuses to give so much as a hint on which way he’s leaning. Even more, he’s apparently actively giving mixed signals – preparing the groundwork for a record third term and yet being completely unenthusiastic, even bored with the very idea.

Because the outside signs are there. The 2014 city budget was increased 40% with respect to 2013 results, a shitload of infrastructure projects are planned and – as if learned a lesson with Stožice – most of those are city-financed, not some form of public-private partnership. A lot of other things, too, bear hallmarks of impending re-election bid. For example, plumbing is being constructed in a remote part of Ljubljana, which has been screaming for it for over three decades. New buses are on the shopping list. Stuff mayors do when elections approach. And yet, there seems to be precious little flair left. It wasn’t just regular visits by the cops. Positive Slovenia, the party which he formed almost single-handedly, has all but thrown him under the bus. Minister in the Bratušek administration considered close to Janković are being replaced one by one. Prominent MPs considered from his stock are either evasive, deserting him or facing their own investigations. Renata Brunskole and Matjaž Zanoškar being examples of the latter two. And to top it off, the “interim” Positive Slovenia leadership just signed the party up for ALDE membership in EU politics, linking it with the liberal camp, while Janković wanted the party to join the S&D, the so called Socialist Internationale.

Thus it was as much a recognition of the fact that he was effectively muscled out of his own party as it was pure bitterness when he said the other day he’d never consider forming yet another party. Which begs the question in what form will he enter the race for the third term at the helm of the city (presuming he does indeed decide to run and that the indictment is either thrown out or the court doesn’t rule on it yet). Technically, the city council has no Positive Slovenia councilmen as all of Janković’s majority in the council was elected on the Zoran Janković List (LZJ) in 2010 and there’s no reason why Jay-Z couldn’t do it again. Provided (again) things on the legal front don’t deteriorate further for him.

And although much of the panache is gone, the re-election of Zoran Janković is not as much a question of his “fitness for office” as it is the question of the opposition coming up with at least one credible candidate. Everything until now was more or less a joke with NSi‘s Mojca Kucler Dolinar being the most serious of generally laughable candidates for mayor in the past eight years. It will also be fun to see whether the PS will run their own candidate, against Janković. With this being the capital and all, it would be only fitting for the largest party in the parliament to come up with a credible candidate for mayor. But then again, even if their man/woman loses they’d have opened another bitter dispute with Janković.

All in all, as far as Ljubljana mayor is considered, his is a pretty shaky position right now and you wouldn’t want to trade places with him for all the farms in Cuba. Strengthening it will require time, but it’s not like he could whistle on his way home.

UPDATE, 19 FEB: Well, turns out Jay-Z’s woes are not nearly over. Today’s Delo reports (Slovene only) Peter Vilfan resigned as city councilman for LZJ. Vilfan, a former basketball star is also MP for Positive Slovenia and his resignation is no small matter in this respect (talk about MPs distancing themselves from Zoki). Namely, Vilfan said that despite his belief that Janković is a) innocent and b) the best mayor Ljubljana ever had, the prime reason for his resignation are mayor’s mounting legal problems with the added bonus being the fantastically fruitless debates in the city council.

Well, while Vilfan put himself in the classical foot-in-mouth position (If he believes Janković is innocent of the charges, why resign?), he is at least correct on the last count 😉

 

 

Positive Discharge

Recently, Slovenian media widely reported of a rift in Positive Slovenia (PS), the senior coalition party. Both print and electronic media were awash with reports of sparks flying between PM Alenka Bratušek and Ljubljana mayor Zoran Janković during a party huddle some three weeks ago.

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WIZJGTD – What Is Zoran Janković Going To Do? (source: The Firm ™)

According to Delo (Slovenian only), Janković, unhappy with being sidelined within the party, went head to head with Bratušek over how much extra money city of Ljubljana would get in the budget balancing act (which has since been passed). However, Bratušek apparently told him that “how much” actually means “if any”. Apparently this precipitated and angryish exchange and forced a roll-call in the party council where a large majority sided with the PM.

The Clash

The allegations of party in-fighting were dismissed publicly and interpreted only as a “spirited debate”, but it did not escape pengovsky’s attention that Renata Brunskole MP, who actively courted Janković to enter the national race in 2011 and even split from SD to facilitate this, basically hung Janković out to dry. She told the media mayors often have different views of state budget thus in effect withdrawing her support for Janković. Not totally unexpected, by the way, since she apparently doesn’t blink twice when switching allegiances suits her immediate political needs. But still, something Janković will not forget easily.

After allegations of a party rift came to light, Janković sought to play down the whole thing, claiming he supported the budget rebalancing act all along and that he believes Alenka Bratušek is an excellent PM. Conspicuously, he said nothing about her as party president, only saying that we will decide on whether he’ll run for party chieftain some time until autumn.

Thus the question which causes many a talking head to predict yet another installment of the “hot political autumn” (the classic and probably most abused idiom in Slovene political lingo) therefore is, whether Jay-Z is going to run for president of Positive Slovenia during their September huddle.

Option One

There are two options, obviously, one more likely than the other. Option One: Janković runs for head of PS, Bratušek as per her earlier stated intentions does not put up a fight, Zoki gets elected head of the party (again), all hell breaks loose within the coalition, early elections are called, cue the Apocalypse.

Now, this scenario has a slight problem: it is way too straightforward. If current ratings are anything to go by, the only two parties which might be interested in (yet another) early elections are Social Democrats of Igor Lukšič and SDS of Janez Janša. The latter perhaps even more so since they are in opposition with Ivan basically hiding under a rock somewhere, save occasional sightings on Party meets and via Twitter. Janša’s political star is fading fast courtesy of the anti-graft report, a gift, by the way, that keeps on giving.

On the other hand, early elections might look appealing to Lukšič (his party secretary-general tweeted as much), since they do offer a chance to mitigate the 2011 ass-whooping the voters served to Borut Pahor and come out on top. With SD being the only coalition party that has both adequate reach and ground network, that may even be doable, especially if they manage to pin all the unpopular things of the Bratušek administration to the PS.

But Lukšič might face an unexpected problem: his party. Specifically, party heavyweights who have too much vested interest in this government continuing, or – at the very least – not having yet another government come in and running the danger of shaking things up. This includes (but is not limited to) the faction(s) supporting the massive headache that is the TEŠ6 power plant in Šoštanj. If too many key SD people became too cosy, early elections might prove to be a bridge too far for Lukšič.

But even so, calling early elections is not exactly a walk in the park. Even if SD quits the coalition due to Janković comeback, PM Bratušek might try to continue with a minority government. Namely, despite Karl Erjavec of DeSUS and Gregor Virant of DL professing their intention to vacate the coalition immediately if Zoki gets back in the game, they both stand to lose plenty. And while DeSUS can still be counted on making it above the 4% threshold on election day, DL is all but finished and the further away the election day is, the better.

Enter Kučan

But this is the less likely scenario. Apart from Janković’s insistence that he never really quit as party president (but merely “freezing” his position, pending a party vote), the only thing that goes in favour of Zoki’s mounting a leadership bid is former president Milan Kučan saying in a recent interview that he ought not to.

That’s right. Some days ago Kučan, commonly seen as Janković’s mentor, gave an interview to a TV station in his native Prekmurje region saying “if Janković can not lead his party due to corruption charges – and it is my belief he can not – then the same goes for a president of any other party, regardless of the support within the party ranks” (full video here, in Slovenian).

Now, Kučan obviously drew a parallel between charges against Janković and Janša, both implicated in reports by the anti-graft commission. Not only did Kučan say Janković shouldn’t lead the PS anymore (thus implicitly supporting PM Bratušek), he also drew a parallel between JJ and Jay-Z, something the latter has tried very hard to dismiss ever since the reports were published.

The pundits went into a frenzy, interpreting this as Kučan throwing Janković under a bus, the final nail in Janković’s political coffin and so on ad nauseam. However, Zoran Janković didn’t get where he is today by taking orders from other people. In fact, while he has always maintained he has deep respect for Kučan, he has defied him politically before. Apparently, Kučan advised him against running for mayor in 2006, but Janković did and won in a landslide. Similarly, the former president apparently privately advised Janković not to go national in 2011 election, but Janković did, again winning in a landslide, but ultimately failing to clinch the PM job. After Janković announced his bid amid much media furuore, Kučan supported him, but noted that he did so for “different reasons”.

Anyways, point being that Kučan lost control of Janković years ago – if he had any in the first place, that is. Also, history shows Janković reacts badly when being told what to do and is liable to do exactly the opposite, just to prove his point. But again, the probability of anything like this happening is, for the moment at least, fairly small.

At this junction, a word of caution is necessary: With Janković, any decision he might or might not take is of academic value at best until a week or so before deadline. As a politician, he often acts instictively, making any sort of rational analysis of his actions useless. During the years, he has toned down this approach significantly, especially after the government-forming debacle in late 2011, but as he often says, he’s too old to change.

Option Two

In pengovsky’s opinion, Janković will (cue Option Two) not run for president of Positive Slovenia. Even more, there is a high level of probability he will not run for a third term as mayor of Ljubljana, either. For some time now, Janković has been dropping hints about “a new mayor and a new team” every now and then. And while he only recently initiated a massive push to upgrade Ljubljana’s ailing infrastructure with a price tag north of 200 million euro, there is a certain lukewarmness in Jankovič’s demeanor.

While this could all be put down to pre-summer exhaustion, it should be noted that municipal elections are slightly more than a year away and that while all other parties in Ljubljana have thusfar failed to produce a strong challenger to Janković, his armor has been more than just slightly dented in the past two years. And, as we have seen time and again, to win an election, you needn’t be the best candidate. You just need to make the fewest mistakes.

2014 is also the year of European elections and it is unlikely the electorate would look kindly upon a political player that would bring them yet another trek to the polling stations, despite the fact that Janković at the helm of PS would probably mean a boost in public-opinion polls for PS which as things stand now, continually scores only high single digits. Despite being instinctive about politics (or precisely because of that), Janković is not suicidal.

In pengovsky’s view this computes into Jay-Z not running for head of the party, while his running for a third term as the mayor of Slovenian capital should not be taken for granted. Sparks were flying, but the lights didn’t go out.

Thus Spake Zoran Janković

As expected, Ljubljana mayor and leader of the opposition Positive Slovenia Zoran Janković rejected the findings of anti-graft commission which released its bomb-shell report yesterday. Indeed, Jay-Z made his case today con mucho gusto. He maintained that no specific corruption was found in his case, stressed that he was at the commission’s disposal to clarify details if need be, that his personal assets have not increased unduly and that all of it has traceable origins. Obviously, he also ruled out the possibility of his resignation. As a bonus, the executive council of Positive Slovenia did not even take confidence vote, thus going the whole nine yards for Janković. And while we’re at it: in a confidence vote by council of his SDS, Janez Janša won 98,6 percent of the vote (281 out of 285). So, no surprises there. Yawn.

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Zoki wrapping up his remarks. Photo by The Firm™

Now, it must be said that Janković did a slightly better job at explaining himself on telly this evening than Janša did last night. And that despite the fact that the anchor was the same one which kid-gloved Janša. Tonight she actually tried to press Jay-Z on a couple of points, but by the time he got on the air he got his story straight enough to go sail the programme like hot knife through butter (sail, knife, butter? Pengovsky, really? :-o) He whizzed through the numbers, made a couple of off-handed remarks about how he knows to crunch the numbers and reiterated that his assets have not increased, they’ve only changed in form (loans were returned, shares were bought, et cetera).

Playing Risk

Throughout the day Zoran Janković refused to concede a single point made in the report. And if one was very generous, one might even say Janković is correct. At least asset-wise. But what the commission states in no unclear terms is that Janković was repeatedly exposed to a high-level risk of corruptible behaviour and has indeed made this risk worse by his actions. Specifically, by having his sons every so often return part of the 8 million euro loan he effectively granted them by deferring payment when they bought his company Electa off of him and at the same time allowing the company to partake in financial transactions which included firms doing business with the city of Ljubljana or (indirectly) the city itself.

Janković maintains that no corruptive activities have taken place. Indeed, the report stops short of even hinting at such activities. OK, so Zoki is under criminal investigation for some of these activities since late September. But that’s not really the point, is it? What in pengovsky’s opinion the commission is trying to say is that not only must there be no corruption, but that elected officials must actively avoid situation where the possibility of such corruption activities existed. Janković responded by saying (more or less) this risk is always present. Which is true. But it would be awfully nice if this risk were as low as possible. For example, by not having the company your kids own do business with firms you deal with as mayor. It could be that everyone plays by the book but it don’t look very nice.

But come what may, Janković is standing ground and will not yield an inch, let alone a yard. And that has its own inner logic. Ideally, a politician resigns when the burden of fighting off allegations prevents him from doing his job effectively. He/she clears up the mess and goes back in action squeaky clean. However, this being Slovenia and all, a resignation is viewed as practically the same as admission of guilt. Just ask Katarina Kresal. Janez Janša probably did the same math and came up with the same result. Which is why both leaders have not shied away from astonishingly unanimous support by their respective parties and have had other people denounce the commission for overreaching and/or not doing its job properly.

Mexican Stand-off

On this note: the outburst by MP for Positive Slovenia Maša Kociper who went squarely against the commission saying that it did not execute due process and that such things have been known to have been politically motivated. Now, we’ve become used to statements like this from the people over at SDS and fellow travellers. Indeed, we have heard them. Today and yesterday. Plenty of them. But apparently even Maša Kociper whom Janković tipped as his choice for the president of the parliament back in 2011, could not resist the urge. Which is a shame, really.

So, what we have here is in fact a political Mexican stand-off Slovenia style. Neither Janša nor Janković will resign, but their posses are screaming bloody murder demanding the other guy quits. Lovely, innit? Add to that the predictable but nevertheless disgusting manoeuvres by Janša and his team about how Slovenia will come to a standstill if his government is not allowed to continue (and that whoever brought it down better know what they are doing) and you see that Friday will be much fun indeed.

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Shit Hits The Fan For Janša And Janković

The anti-corruption commission today released the final report on financial status of leaders of parliamentary parties (Slovenian only). It found no irregularities on the part of Borut Pahor (leader of SD until April 2012, now president of the republic), Karl Erjavec (DeSUS), Radovan Žerjav (SLS), Gregor Virant (DL) and Ljudmila Novak (NSi). However, the report states that Prime Minister and leader of SDS, the largest coalition party Janez Janša and Ljubljana mayor and leader of PS, the largest opposition party Zoran Janković failed to report substantial parts of their respective income. Additionally, the commission states that Jay-Z was on the receiving end of some 208.000 euro in transactions which originated with companies which do business with the city of Ljubljana, while JJ simply cannot the origin of some 210.000 euro of assets. Translation: shit hit the fan.

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The list of transgressions for both top policitos is long and distinguished. But to cut a long story short: according to the commission Janković failed to report several substantial shares and bank transactions and was repaid by various companies some 2.4 million euro of loans given. This includes the aforementioned 208k EUR where the commission states a huge potential for conflict of interest, undue lobbying and corruption existed. Janša, however, failed to report various real estate deals and loans taken, under-reporting the value of a luxury car, providing a collateral for a 500k EUR loan his SDS took out as well as providing collateral for a loan taken by family member (presumably his wife) and reporting a cash deposit in amount of 33k euro. Also, he is reported to have unduly profited some 100k EUR in a real estate deal. In addition, the report stated, Janša failed tot explain the origin of the aforementioned 210k of assets, used to finance various deals and expenses.

On a sidenote: it is interesting that despite the fact Janković lately got a lot of flak over alleged shady real-estate deals, the commission nailed him for what mostly seem to be purely financial transgressions while they threw the book at Janša on various real-estate deals (and one luxury car), despite the fact that he was rumoured to have had a hand in cash transactions in various arms deals and is standing trial on corruption charges in the Patria Affair. Ironic, to say the least. But more to the point: Both Janša and Janković denied any wrongdoing. Zoki is expected to hold a press conference tomorrow, while JJ went on national telly this evening and got the royal treatment, with the anchor kid-gloving him and letting him do the talking while she only occasionally interjected with a how-do-you-explain-this type of questions and, predictably, no follow-ups.

While it is no particular secret that the anchor in question is cosy with Janša it was still a shameless performance. Asked if he will resign, Janša played the ultimate gambit and said that…. wait for it… he doesn’t know. He then proceeded to add that he will offer his resignation to the executive council of the party and should they vote to accept his resignation as party leader he will step down as PM as well. This particular line of action is of course meant to rally the troops and close the ranks, not unlike what Janković did after the high-profile police raid in late September 2012. Also, Janša pulled the same trick on election Sunday in 2011 when he got his ass whooped by Janković, so this manoeuvre comes as no surprise and pengovsky is not holding his breath. Regardless, the TV anchor tonight said that JJ’s resignation would be “the start of a political crisis”. Just to make sure everyone knew what is at stake.

Not that anyone needed remembering. The SDS media machinery immediately went into full swing, with various talking heads decimating the anti-corruption commission as unconstitutional, biased and politically motivated. The junior coalition partners were none too happy with the story (alternatively: they were jumping with joy over the badlands JJ found himself in) and when Gregor Virant of DL called on both Janša and Janković to resign toute-de-suite, he immediately became a target himself. Sure enough, it was funny to watch Virant going all pious on Janša and Janković after his fiasco over getting ex-MP payment and earning a little extra on the side. But pengovsky is sure he relished the moment. Also, Janša himself unscrupulously went after the vice-president of the anti-corruption commission Rok Praprotnik, claiming that the latter is on a personal vendetta against him (Praprotnik reported widely on arms deals in Slovenia while he was a journalist at Dnevnik daily). Even Goran Klemenčič, the head of the commission was not off-limits, despite the fact that Klemenčič’s wife, Nina Zidar Klemenčič represents Janša in a number of lawsuits.

Also, Janša – in his trademark poor-me fashion – complained that he was not given a draft of the report so he could respond properly. Interestingly enough, the report states that during the course of the investigation, the commission found out that a request to a state-owned company for data on Janša’s dealings was leaked to him. An independent investigation into that incident was apparently launched.

As for the illustrious Ljubljana mayor: in a preliminary statement Janković pointed out that origins of his assets can be and were accounted for (which is true, according to the commission’s report) and that at no time was the City of Ljubljana defrauded (this also appears to be true, since all loans given to Janković-related companies by firms dealing with the city were reportedly repaid in full). However, Janković goes on to add that the commission did not actually find corruption, but rather found the possibility for corruption activities. This, in all honesty, is splitting the hair mighty fine. Often, appearances can be just as damaging as (non)actions. And while no-one really expect Janković to resign (he said as much this evening, reportedly), it should be noted that for some time now he was dropping hints on “a new mayor and a new team”. True, these were often off-hand remarks and no too much should be read into them, but there you go.

Oh, and in case you were wondering: the newly minted President of the Republic Borut Pahor “expressed concern over the issue”. Neat. Must be kind of weird feeling, since a month ago, while still running for president, he proudly said that “the support of Janez Janša means a lot to him”. Well, politics makes for strange bedfellows, I guess. At least this particular president doesn’t seem prone to bothering Janša with calls for resignation.

Well, at the very least, this will probably breathe some fresh air into the protest movement. The next big rally is to be held on Friday.

EDIT: I almost forgot. In a most telling sentence, the commission writes that “it does not have the authority to demand resignations of Janša or Janković”. Translation: if they did, they would have. Also, Janša’s first response was (as is usual lately) on Twitter, where he wrote that his assets correspond to his work (labour) of 30 years. A slight Freudian slip there, Jimbo. The money did’t just fall out of the sky, that’s for sure. The question is just what exactly did Janša do to get it.

P.S.: On a related note, a funny fuck-up occurred over the alleged reaction of the SDS on this report. Grega Stritar (@gstritar) has more on this. Read it up and follow him.

 

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Police Raid Zoran Janković

Ljubljana mayor Zoran Janković got raided by law-enforcement agencies early this morning. The CrimPolice knocked on his door at about 6 am, produced a search warrant and searched his place, places of eight other individuals and fourteen places of work. While Janković himself was apparently not detained during the course of the investigation, six people were. This includes his two sons (one whom was in hospital, where his wife was having a C-section) as well as Uroš Ogrin, general manager of Gradis G, the principal contractor in the Stožice Complex project (and several other construction projects in the city).


Cop cars in front of the City Hall earlier today (photo: The Firm™)

Officially, the primary focus of the investigation is the Stožice complex and the flow of money surrounding it. The commercial part of the complex still isn’t finished, allegedly because GREP (a company established by Gradis G and the other contractor Energoplan for the purpose of constructing the complex) can’t secure a final credit line of about 15 million euro in what is essentially a 350 million euro project. Specifically, the police suspect (among other things) money laundering, abuse of office and fraud.

Right now no charges are filed. They usually aren’t in cases like these. It will take the cops over at National Bureau of Investigation some time before they sift through the pile of papers they’ve confiscated but it seems inconceivable that the prosecution would not press the case all the way to the court. Regardless of how watertight the case against the mayor really is.

Because even though everyone was loath to look at the case from the political point of view, it is obvious that the ramifications of this case go beyond mere questions of legality of Janković’s actions. With him being the president of the largest party in the parliament this somewhat levels the political playing field in Slovenia, since his arch-rival Janez Janša is knee-deep in the Patria Affair. Somewhat being the operative word here as no charges are pressed as yet against Janković, while Janša is standing trial. Since the investigation was apparently opened a year and a half ago it would be unfair to say that the whole thing is purely political, but there are too many coincidences here to just brush them off.

First, as with almost every other big story in the last year, the whole thing broke while PM Janša was out of town. This time around he was in New York, attending the UN General Assembly, calling for a world without genocide (I’m sure everyone else went: Hey, why didn’t we think of that?). Second, this happened after the State Prosecution was transferred under the portfolio of Ministry of the interior, now ran by Vinko Gorenak of Janša’s SDS. And third, the fact that the raid happened on the same day Jankovič’s daughter-in-law was in hospital, giving birth via a C-section, reeks of intent to humiliate. These procedures are planned in advance and while pengovsky is not pointing any fingers, it looks as if someone was looking to add insult to injury.

But even if these are pure coincidences, fact remains that the spotlight is now firmly on Zoran Janković and this will be exploited by his political opponents in every way, shape or form. Indeed, it wasn’t long since president Danilo Türk was called upon to “publicly denounce” Janković, who was Türk’s first PM nominee after 2011 elections and whose party Positive Slovenia supports the incumbent president in his re-election bid. Funnily, no-one calls on SDS presidential candidate Milan Zver to publicly denounce Janez Janša due to him being tried in a court of law. And you can be sure Borut Pahor will try to jump on that particular bandwagon as well.

But while the right-wing will howl about how this is the beginning of an end of Jay-Z and the “entire left wing”, there is an issue that will have to be dealt with mostly by Positive Slovenia and sooner rather than later: as things stand right now, the party appears united behind their man. But in the past members of this party and other notable left-wing politicos claimed that Janša should resign the moment the court accepted the charges against him filed by the State Prosecution. With regard to their leader, the SDS maintains that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. As expected, they are not willing to extend this luxury to Janković. But Positive Slovenia claimed an altogether different criteria, which is definitely more in line with the concept of a modern democracy. Thus it will be interesting to see how they respond if charges against Janković are indeed formally pressed.

On the other hand, however, there’s always the possibility that Jay-Z will spare them the grief. Tonight he categorically denied any possibility of him resigning, but then again, you never know…

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