Presidential Election 2017: Fear And Loathing Of Borut Pahor, Maja Makovec Brenčič Joins Fight Club

T-minus-seven and the presidential race finally heats up. At least in terms of words if not (yet) in numbers. Earlier today a group of broadly left-leaning intellectuals published a scathing rebuke of President Borut Pahor while the leader of the opposition SDS Janez Janša did something similar – only far more effective – days before. All the while Maja Makovec Brenčič running on the SMC ticket finally realised she’s got nothing left to lose and is at least trying to have fun.


SMC presidential nominee Maja Makovec Brenčič moments before she punches voters on the nose in her Twitter ad (source)

The polls, however, have remained consistent over the last few days. Borut Pahor is still well within the reach of clinching a first-round victory and thereby a second term as President of the Republic, joining Milan Kučan as the only president to have done so (both Janez Drnovšek and Danilo Türk served only one term, the former on account of ill health, the latter on account of, you know, losing elections). However, Pahor is not there yet. And he desperately wants to be there, lest he be subjected to the Hillary Effect in Round Two, which is why his camp is trying desperately to chip off points from other candidates wherever it can.

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Presidential Elections 2017: Year Of The Women

With six, nay, five weeks until the first round of the presidential election in Muddy Hollows, the field is getting slightly more crowded and the race somewhat more interesting than initially imagined.


From left to rigth: Ljudmila Novak, Romana Tomc, Angelca Likovič, Suzana Lara Krause, Maja Makovec Brenčič (source, source, source, source & source)

As expected the main political parties (i.e. those with deputies in the parliament) were struggling to find people willing to challenge incumbent president Borut Pahor. After all if recent polls are anything to go by, the guy is more popular than Donald Trump at a white-supremacist rally. But since one has to keep up appearances, these parties had (or still have) to field candidates, lest they be perceived as not giving a flying fuck about the office of the president. Which for the most part they don’t, but that is widely considered to be a bad approach to an election.

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[UPDATED] Will Thursday Finally See The End Of The Border Dispute Between Slovenia And Croatia?

UPDATE 29/06/2016 @ 1630 CET: The Tribunal has announced its decision which (at least in part) goes along the lines argued in the post. See the end of the post for details.

Once for a change, Slovenia and Croatia have every right to feel like the centre of the world. It’s not as if they don’t feel like that most of time, but with the final decision of the arbitration tribunal on the border between the two former Yugoslav republics due on Thursday, the attention of much of the continent (if not the world) will be upon them. And it shows.


The disputed maritime border between Slovenia and Croatia

The story of the Slovenia-Croatia border dispute is as long as the independence of the two countries and has in the past quarter-century gone from practically non-existent to near-armed-conflict and back again, with everything in between. It has been used time and again for scoring cheap political points, divert attention from other problems or even (allegedly) coordinated by players on both sides of the borders to swing elections. But in reality it was nothing more than a neighbourly dispute over a few patches of land that got out of hand.

Continue reading [UPDATED] Will Thursday Finally See The End Of The Border Dispute Between Slovenia And Croatia?

Wag The Thompson

This sorry little excuse for a country spent much of the past week (and then some) fretting over a seemingly minor issue which – as per usual in this part of the world – was blown way out of proportion. We are, of course, referring to one Marko Perković – Thompson who was scheduled to give a concert in Maribor today but was banned only days ago over security concerns.


Marko Perković – Thompson being all patriotic and shit. (source)

When the concert was announced, everybody freaked out. The charge was led by local press, most notably Maribor-based Večer daily which has national coverage and soon half of the country was in overdrive.

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Storm In A Populist Teacup

For a few long moments on Thursday it seemed as if the government of Miro Cerar drew its last breath. The issue at hand was an agreement between the minister of health Milojka Kolar Celarc and the FIDES, the medical doctors’ trade union (not to be confused with Victor Orban’s Fidesz) which ostensibly put an end to the MDs’ week-long strike. The thing is that at the same time the other public sector unions were negotiating with the government on rolling back austerity measures and getting what they see is their due. On top of that the doctors, unusually, weren’t getting a pass by the public opinion which normally forgave their antics regardless of how baseless they may have been (because doctors and shit). All of this while the government was about to unveil a much-anticipated draft of health-sector reform, a move which by definition makes a lot of players with plenty of vested interest, mighty nervous. But in the end, it all amounted to nothing.

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The Three Amigos (source, source and source)

Namely, while Karl Erjavec of DeSUS and Dejan Židan of SD were raising hell in the last couple of days on account of minister Kolar Celarc supposedly agreeing to exempt the doctors from a mechanism that regulates wages across the entire public sector, the true reasons for the entire circus were purely political and aimed at obscuring the fact that both junior coalition parties can ill afford parliamentary elections right now, for reasons both political and financial. And this, more or less goes for all political parties with the possible exception of the SMC.

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