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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Gold Rush

In a development that surprised a grand total of zero people, Marjan Šarec, mayor of Kamnik and erstwhile presidential candidate announced yesterday that he will take part in the parliamentary election. This comes on the heels of a host of new political parties announced or already formed and ready to enter the already-crowded arena. And with the vote six months out it is high time pengovsky takes a closer look at the lay of the land .


Slovenian ballot box (photo by yours truly)

Although reguraly decried by their more established and/or traditional cousins as attempts to con and defraud the good citizens of Muddy Hollows, new parties are by no means a purely Slovenian phenomenon. Case in point Czech Republic (or Czechia, as it now wants to be called in English) where a large majority of parliamentary parties have yet to celebrate their tenth birthday and one was established only two years ago. Or neighbouring Slovakia where two parliamentary parties were non-existent as little as three or four years ago. Or even France, where the right wing is currently billed as Les Republicains but used various acronyms throughout the decades as its (originally Gaullist) platform evolved. All this and we haven’t even mentioned Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique En Marche which was but a figment of imagination as little as eighteen months ago but has since opened a can of whoop-ass on the French political establishment.

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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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Presidential Election: The Run-Off

What was unlikely as late as Friday evening when the campaign ended, materialised on Sunday night when the votes were staring to come in. President Borut Pahor and his main challenger Marjan Šarec are headed for a run-off in three weeks’ time.


Results in the first round show Pahor winning most votes in all but three precincts (source)

In all honesty, Pahor came close to winning in the first round. But not close enough. With 99.98 percent of the vote counted, Pahor won 47.07 percent while Šarec won 24.96 percent. Among the also-rans, Romana Tomc of SDS won a respectable 13.74 pecent while the other main centre-right contender, Ljudmila Novak of the NSi, won 7.16 percent. Maja Makovec Brenčič of the ruling SMC won an embarrassing 1.76 percent of the vote while Angelca Likovič of the ultra-conservative GOD party tallied a measly .58 percent. The alt-right candidate Andrej Šiško won 2.22 percent of the vote which is an unpleasantly remarkable feat given that he hardly campaigned at all.

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President Pahor Mounts a Reaganesque Defence in TEŠ 6 Investigation

Vacation, as per von Clausewitz, is a continuation of stress by other means. And while pengovsky planned to post extensively during the vacay it turned out that another von (Moltke, in this case) was right when he observed that no plan survives the initial contact with the enemy. Which makes one wonder just what exactly President Borut Pahor’s plan was yesterday when he faced off with former coalition partner and former leader of now-defunct Zares party Gregor Golobič as they both testified in front of the parliamentary committee investigating the clusterfuck that is the TEŠ 6 power plant in Šoštanj.


Gregor Golobič and Borut Pahor (right) (source: RTVSLO)

Now, sitting presidents in Slovenia don’t often get called to testify in parliamentary investigations. In fact, the last one to have done so was Milan Kučan, testifying in 1995 on the circumstances on the JBTZ affair in 1988, one of the key events in emergence of multi-party democracy in Slovenia and its drive for independence. Additionally, this was – by pengovsky’s admittedly perfunctory count – the very first instance of a sitting Slovenian president facing off with a contradicting witness. This alone makes yesterday’s a truly remarkable event. Then there’s the fact that it was Golobič vs. Pahor, a former and a current political heavy-weight respectively who used to bat for more or less the same team as coalition partners in Pahor’s 2008-2011 government (later brought down by Golobič for reasons including but not limited to TEŠ 6). And secondly – or thirdly, for those keeping count – the mere fact that the showdown at OK TEŠ 6 took place less than two months before the first round of presidential elections makes this a rather extraordinary occurrence.
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