“Never,” said Napoleon*, “interfere with the enemy when he is making a mistake.” Judging by the last couple of weeks, PM Marjan Šarec is well on his way to becoming a case study in the subject matter.
It all started with that infamous poll where Šarec’s government clocked in a staggering 70% approval rating, with LMŠ itself leaving the every other coalition and opposition party in the dust. Things continued with LMŠ giving the cold shoulder to the rest of the ALDE parties and came to a head this week when it transpired that Šarec will not be addressing the European Parliament in its Debates on the Future of Europe.
In what is starting to become a bit of a recutring theme these days, prime minister Marjan Šarec lost yet another minister of his minority government. And still, the stability of the supposedly unstable government goes unshaken.
The man to get the can this time around is Jure “Super” Leben, minister for environment and spatial planning who, staying true to his surname, apparently had more than one political leben in him and is now holding the dubious honour of being the only person in recent memory to resign from two different governments.
Remember pengovsky’s rant on how the culture porfolio is almost always an afterthought during government forming in Muddy Hollows? Well, guess what. Turns out Dejan Prešiček (Team Social Democrats) who runs the culture portfolio is seeing his political career hang by a thread due to allegations that include – does this sound familiar? – misuse of a government vehicle.
In fact, the allegations are far more serious than that and include accusations of workplace harassment, mobbing and abuse of office by both the minister and his state secretary. Which is quite an achievement for someone who has only been in office six, nay, five months.
“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.
One of the peculiarties of the Slovenian parliamentary system are the separate votes on the prime minister and on their cabinet. Which means that once he was appointed PM, Marjan Šarec was only half-done. But as posturing slowly gave way to reality he and his coalition partners were able to agree on a division of labour which broadly goes along the lines of leaders of junior coalition partners getting all the high-profile jobs, LMŠ getting the PM spot and all the crappy jobs with the remaining cabinet members having merely to show up on time and not to screw up too much.
The one thing that separates this government from the previous twelve is the fact that Šarec will have two former PMs in his cabinet. Alenka Bratušek and Miro Cerar have both dealt with their own respective large-scale crises and will be able to provide Šarec with some first-hand advice on handling the situation if things suddenly go tits up. Provided, of course, the new PM will want to listen in the first place. Because he already demonstrated that he can have a bit of a fuck you attitude. But we’ll get there. So, apart from Šarec, who’s who in the new pecking order?