Many well-placed observers expected François Fillon, the French centre-right presidential candidate to finally pull the plug on his beleaguered campaign as news of him being put under formal investigation finally broke. After all, that was what he promised to do.
Janez Janša and François Fillon being all statesman-like and shit (source)
But it appears the ties betwixt France and Slovenia, the proud observer in La Francophonie, the former Ilyrian province of the French Empire and one of the few European countries other than France to have fond memories of a certain Corsican corporal, are more than just historic and/or cultural. In particular, they seem to include a former French prime minister heavily copying the playbook of a former Slovenian prime minister.
Continue reading For François Fillon, Notes From A Former Province
With 2017 slowly settling in, it is high time pengovsky takes a look at the biggest political event scheduled this year in Slovenia. Namely, the presidential elections. While unimportant on the larger scale of things, especially with looming French and German elections and whatnot, the popular vote on the largely (but not completely) ceremonial post is still interesting as it will function both as a large scale public opinion poll as well as a prequel to the parliamentary elections, expected to take place some time in 2018. So, to get one’s bearings and to provide some light entertainment, here is the lay of the presidential land in Slovenia.
Who will piss in Borut Pahor‘s pool? (source)
In Slovenia, the President of the Republic has limited powers. Arguably, his biggest role is nominating candidates for top positions in the state apparatus. Specifically, he nominates candidates for prime minister, constitutional judges as well as governor and vice-governors of the Central Bank. However, his nominations require the approval of the parliament which often-times means that the president is (at worst) merely rubber-stamping horse-trading between parliamentary parties or (at best) is actively involved in finding a consensus candidate, which usually does not translate into the best possible candidate. But such is life.
Continue reading State of Presidential Play
It’s been 72 hours since The Donald was sworn in as the 45th US president and it is already clear that the next three-to-four years are going to be. So. Much. Fun.
I mean, yes, it will not be pleasant, to say the least. But the US will recover. Let’s not forget just how indignant the same crowd (more or less) was when Dubya was appointed president in 2000. Many people were freely using the term coup d’etat at that point. And indeed, this has brought at least two wars, human suffering beyond belief and an economic catastrophe of biblical proportions. True, it wasn’t all George W.’s responsibility and when shit hit the fan economically, it was the black man left holding the bag, but there you go.
Continue reading The Alternative President
The much-anticipated Brexit Speech by British PM Theresa May yesterday was dubbed the biggest speech of her career. But if there ever was an overhyped media event, this was it. In fact, even the annual State of the European Union addresses by Jean-Claude Juncker have more zest (especially when he goes off-script). But the fact that she basically reiterated that Brexit means Brexit, only in longer sentences, should surprise nobody.
PM Theresa May using longer sentences to say that Brexit still means Brexit (source)
To be fair, May did try and put some meat onto the shaky English skeleton flipping the bird to Europe. She has, for all intents and purposes, outlined the UK’s opening positions when and if Article 50 is triggered. The meat being so-called Clean Brexit.
OT: Did you notice how the narrative has changed? It’s no longer Hard Brexit versus Soft Brexit (with soft being instinctively preferable) but rather Clean Brexit versus… Muddy (Dirty? Unclean?) Brexit. The name alone is designed to make it instantly more appealing to the masses. So, expect this Clean Brexit narrative to be pushed, well, hard, for the next couple of weeks until the March/April deadline for triggering Article 50 (or will that be rebranded as “launching Article 50”?) starts to loom large.
Continue reading Theresa May Day
The fact that Norbert Hofer of the Austrian Freedom Party came within a whisker of winning the country’s presidency speaks volumes. Indeed, it is a sign of times that a Neo-Nazi candidate winning “only” forty-six percent of the vote is considered a success for the democratic order. The sad reality is that the election of Alexander van der Bellen for Austrian president is merely a respite from the onslaught of forces of destruction and division that have engulfed much of Europe and the Western world in general. A welcome respite, to be sure, but a respite nevertheless. The shit has not yet stopped hitting the fan.
The Most Interesting van der Bellen In The World (source)
That van der Bellen defeated Hofer twice and with a larger margin on the second go is a silver lining and perhaps strengthens the rationale for a second Brexit referendum. But one should not count on the far-right tide ebbing across Europe. Not with the Dutch, French and German elections still in play and with their own Neo-Nazis well positioned to make substantial gains and sow further discord and hatred. This, of course, was made possible (not solely but in substantial part) by several critical failures of both the European project as well as of the underlying concept of post-war liberal democratic order.
Continue reading Respite Van Der Bellen