The Game’s Afoot. Again.

Parliamentary election in Slovenia will be held on 3 June. Such was the decision of President of the Republic Borut Pahor last Saturday when he, flanked by his senior advisers, signed the order on dissolution of the parliament and setting the election date. With this the game is now officially afoot. But little in the political dynamic of Muddy Hollows will change in practice as parties and politicians have been on an election footing since middle of the winter, or at the very least since Prime Minister Miro Cerar submitted his surprise resignation and lit a fire under everyone’s asses.


Projected distribution of seats by Volilna napoved poll aggregator, where one can fool around with fantasy coalitions.

While much ink had been spilt over how Slovenia is yet again facing early elections, the date Pahor chose makes this now a moot point. For while it is technically true that elections are being called because of the parliament’s inability/unwillingness to appoint a new prime minister following Cerar’s surprise resignation, election on 3 June also fall within the constitutionally mandated “no sooner than two months and no later than fifteen days before the expiry of four years from the date of the first session of the previous National Assembly” (Article 81) which for all intents and purposes makes this a regular election. Which further proves the point of just how well timed Cerar’s resignation was. Maximum effect with minimum sacrifice.

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Parliament Reports President Pahor To Prosecution Over TEŠ 6

In what was not an entirely expected turn of events, the parliament yesterday unanimously adopted the committee report on the TEŠ 6 (Tower Six of Šoštanj coal power plant) corruption case. In addition, the parliament also voted to approve a virtually unprecedented move to report to the police the suspicion of gross negligence in execution of public office, a criminal offence carrying up to three-year prison sentence (Article 258 of the Penal Code).


TEŠ 6 (photo by yours truly)

The report concludes that the whole project was tailored to the needs of the coal lobby with specific MPs acting as stooges and pushing its agenda. The document blames every government from 2004 until 2012 for being needlessly careless and allowing the project to balloon and eventually derail. But while there is plenty of blame to go around, the report singles out and pins the largest share of the blame on then-PM Borut Pahor, his finance minister Franci Križanič and economy minister Matej Lahovnik for either actively looking the other way (Pahor) or even facilitating corruption (Križanič, Lahovnik) when it was already obvious the whole thing was going tits-up but disaster could still have been prevented.

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So, How’s That Instagram Thing Working For You?

Among the more bizarre turns the as-yet-unofficial election campaign in Muddy Hollows has taken is definitely the sudden rush trot of politicos to Instagram. Ever since president Pahor got a couple of positive write-ups on Politico for his Instagram antics the accepted wisdom seems to be that IG is the new black [Slavoj Žižek voice] and so on and so on…


Karl Erjavec’s increasingly popular Instagram account (source)

The main object of fascination in the past few weeks was none other than foreign minister and leader of pensioner’s party Karl Erjavec who took Slovenian Instagram by something of a storm. His trademark man-of-the-people-meets-Captain-Obvious approach has earned him roars of approval on the social network.

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Report Implicates President, Leader Of The Opposition in TEŠ 6 Clusterfuck

Friday last the National Assembly adopted an interim report by the parliamentary committee on TEŠ 6 coal power plant in Šoštanj. And it is a bit of a bombshell. Namely, the report deals with procurement procedures in the project which ballooned from an estimated EUR 600 million to almost 1.4 billion and states that the contract to build TEŠ 6 should have been offered via public tender and that active steps were taken to prevent that from happening, thus keeping the project non-transparent and a fertile ground for corruption.


The Šoštanj coal power plant (source)

However, unlike most committee reports of the kind, this one goes further and actually names names. The principal enablers of the TEŠ 6 fiasco according to the report were: prime minister (now president) Borut Pahor, prime minister (now MP and leader of the largest opposition party) Janez Janša and ministers of finance and economy in both governments: the late Andrej Bajuk and Andrej Vizjak in Janša’s administration as well as Franci Križanič and Matej Lahovnik in Pahor’s government. The kicker? The parliament adopted the report with a nearly 2/3 majority (59 votes out of 90), with no-none voting against.

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The Aftermath Of An Election

The ordeal is finally over. Borut Pahor was elected to a second five-year term, fending off a second-round challenge by Marjan Šarec, the mayor of a mid-size town in central Slovenia. But although Pahor’s victory was expected, he had to work harder and longer for it and won with by a much smaller margin that generally expected at the outset of the campaign.


The runner-up and the incumbent (source)

Still reeling from the clusterfuck after the first round when a number of of prominent polling agencies called the race for Pahor even ahead of the vote, the pollsters were more or less on target this time around. Most of final polls coalesced around 55/45 percent for Pahor but the final tally showed Pahor won in the end by 53 percent to Šarec’s 47 percent. That’s a mere six-point spread.

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