In the post-EU-election hustle some member states are hitting the ground running. Some, however, are not. No points for guessing which category Muddy Hollows is in.
In fact, rather than defining strategic areas of interest early on and then finding one or more people potentially fitting the bill, the great Slovenian political minds of Dunning-Kruger fame started playing a game of elimination and floating trial balloons. Talk about bringing a knife to a gun fight.
“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.
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?
It has been ten days since election in Muddy Hollows and President Pahor convened the inaugural session of the new parliament for this coming Friday. This means personnel decision are looming and with no coalition deal in sight nervousness is starting to set in.
What we have seen in the past week or so were polar opposites in approaching the conundrum at hand: One side there is the presumptive PM nominee Janez Janša playing his cards as close to the vest as possible, while on the other side there’s the nominal runner-up Marjan Šarec who is producing all kinds of chatter about “coalition exploration”, “platform compatibility” and other buzzwords du jour.
T-14 days and the election campaign in Muddy Hollows is now seeing increased use of heavy artillery, pengovsky did some punditizing on the telly and the debates are about to start coming in thick and fast.
Debate on POP TV on Monday night (source: screencapture)
But before we go into all that, the story that dominated the past week was one this scribe had briefly covered here and has to do with Slovenia turning out to be much more of a banana republic than its indigenous population is willing to admit