No matter how you look at it, Slovenian prime minister Janez Janša is not having a good post-epidemic. His majority in the parliament has shrunk down to a single vote in a matter of days, the biking protest movement shows no signs of abating and his onslaught against the public broadcaster somehow continues not to go according to plan. And to top it all off, there is his Twitter habit which keeps backfiring.
While there is no real danger of PM Janša again becoming ex-PM Janša anytime soon, shifting gears from the adrenaline-filled environment of political epidemiology to the mundane everyday of coalition-processed policy did not go smoothly for the Glorious Leader, and it showed.
For someone trying to pull the country back from the brink of economic collapse, prime minister Janša gives remarkably few fucks about the well-being of various enterprises around the country. With biking protests taking place every Friday evening and with recovery efforts becoming increasingly complex and hard to manage, the level of discontent in the country is increasing.
Not surprisingly, Janša, his SDS party and the base in general are not taking kindly to that and are proving remarkably thin-skinned for people who are quick to claim that hate speech doesn’t exist and that freedom of expression is paramount. Well, it seems like some freedoms of expression are more paramount than others.
With 5000+ people protest-biking in the capital according to police estimates (press reports put the number at twice the range) and hundreds more in several other towns across the country, Muddy Hollows on Friday saw the largest anti-government protest since the Winter of Discontent.
It was an outpouring of anger and frustration that had accumulated during the lockdown and are now boiling over. In part this is due to repeated executive overreach but mostly it was revelations of corruption and ineptitude at the highest levels of the government with regard to procurement of personal protective equipment and medical ventilators needed to curb the Covid-19 epidemic.
It took Janša 3.0 government less than a month to score its first international embarrassment. Which is quite a feat, considering that the country is in the middle of containing the Covid-19 epidemic. The crux of the matter is a “dispatch” sent by the Slovenian foreign ministry in which they rebuke an alert raised on the Council of Europe media freedom platform.
To cut a long story short, in a pair of tweets PM Janša accused the public broadcaster RTVSLO of running false stories, being overpaid and overstaffed. Various domestic and international journalism organisations raised a stink with the CoE and this required an official government response. The document turned out to be such a fucking train wreck that everyone – including the foreign ministry – started running away from it, pronto.
Slovenian parliament is debating a massive legislative package today, aimed at mitigating effects of the covid-19 lock-down is having on the economy and jobs.
But in what is apparently becoming a world-wide trend, the powers that be stuffed in a couple of provisions expanding police surveillance and investigative powers while circumventing judicial oversight. All in the name of curbing the epidemic.