Not a lot seems to be going right for British diplomacy these days. At least as far Muddy Hollows is concerned.
Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs was in town today, talking shop and Brexit with his Slovenian counterpart the other day. And staying true to form, Jeremy Hunt stepped right into it.
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?
In a development that came as a surprise to a grand total of zero people (save possibly to the man himself), president Pahor announced on Monday that he will not be nominating a candidate for the post of prime minister. With this, the first round of attempts to form a government following the election on 3 June came to an end.
Despite the brouhaha that surrounded the event, nothing spectacular had in fact happened. Other than the fact that The Prez has once again talked himself into a corner out of which there was no clean way out which is why he resorted to fear-mongering and his drama-queen act.
In what came as a bit of a shock late on Tuesday evening, the executive council of the SMC voted unanimously to expel from the party its No.2 man and former Speaker of the parliament Milan Brglez. Official explanation, as lacking as it was, cited “actions contravening decisions of the executive council” (*breaks open a bag of popcorn*).
For his part, Brglez was quick to take to social media and decry the move as stifling of dissent within the party and hinted (or, rather painted in big fat letters) that he was being purged because he opposed SMC going in coalition with Janez Janša’s SDS. The SMC, naturally, didn’t see it that way.
The results were in on Sunday night and… well, it is a clusterfuck. SDS won a relative majority with 25% of the vote and just as many seats in the parliament but party leader Janez Janša will be shitting Lego bricks trying to put together a workable coalition. Far behind SDS in second place is LMŠ of Marjan Šarec with 13 seats. After that, the field gets crowded. Social Democrats (SD) of Dejan Židan and SMC of Miro Cerar have 10 seats each, The Left have nine followed by NSi with seven. DeSUS of Karl Erjavec and SAB of Alenka Bratušek have five each. Rounding off the pack are Zmago Jelinčič’s nationalists (SNS) with four seats. This is the most fractured parliament Muddy Hollows has had in ages, and putting together a coalition will be a nightmare, No wonder there is plenty of talk of a repeat vote in six months’ time.
However, upon closer inspection things get even more interesting. First, the fact that Zmago Jelinčič and his SNS have barely made it above the 4-percent threshold and remain vulnerable to either results of absentee votes or potential legal challenges in individual precincts. More importantly, and possibly with great ramifications for coalition negotiations, neither Alenka Bratušek nor Karl Erjavec were elected to the parliament. Which means both will have a critical interest in joining coalition where they will serve as ministers. Given that they control ten votes between them, this is a distinct possibility.