Voices From the Grapevine…

…are increasingly loud about this guy being the next to go…

Before shit hits the fan, let me make one thing clear: thusfar there is almost not a piece of information around to actually confirm the capiton under the picture. This is all purely speculative and based on bits an pieces I keep hearing from various sources (various both in number and their background).

But the truth is that Slovenia is to preside over the EU in a year’s time and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitrij Rupel is apparently losing his grip rapidly. He hasn’t made any headway regarding open issues with Croatia, he failed to reach a deal regarding the final statement of the OSCE summit in Ljubljana and he seems to have outlived his usefulness to PM Janez Janša. While Janša still defends Rupel publicly that is by no means a tell-tale sign that Rupel enjoys the support of his boss. Janša consistently supported his agricultulrar minister(ess) Marija Lukačič, but she resigned a couple of days ago, citing medical reasons.

And given Rupel’s recent blunders (he allegedly spilled the beans to the press, disclosing the contents of a closed-doors session of EU foreign ministers in Finland about a month ago) Janša would do good to get rid of Rupel ASAP.

There are other signs as well, seemingly unconnected. The youth organisation of SLS (one of the junior coalition partners) put up several leaflets around Ljubljana, saying “Mr. Golobič, why don’t you admit that Danilo Türk will be the next president of LDS?

At first glance it makes no sense, as Gregor Golobič (formerly of now-oppostion LDS – Liberal democrats) is at odds with the current LDS leadership, while Danilo Türk (former right-hand man of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan) is known to be close to right wing parties, notably Janša’s SDS. But if one takes into account that SLS were always agents provocateurs, making it their purpose in life to make life difficult for the senior coalition party (any senior coalition party, that is) than a possible scenario goes like this: Rupel is on the verge of “being resigned”, Danilo Türk is most likely to succeed him but SLS like their pond murky so they link him to LDS, aiming to destroy his chances of becoming Janša’s FM. Sounds like a conspiracy theory, but why in the world SLS try to contaminate Danilo Türk with LDS-virus if he wasn’t up for a job? And there’s only one job good enough for him in Slovenia…

To go on… Rupel being a resident “guest star” in Saturday’s edition of Delo newspaper is bad news for Janša who likes to run a tight ship. And that includes Rupel, who always prided himself in being a sort of a maverick. Which can be good, but not if you’re Foreign Minister. And this article by The Economist calling Rupel “oddly abrasive” is not to Rupel’s credit. Not to meniton the recent discovery by Dnevnik that he had his driver run errands for his wife… In their own right none of these events warant Rupel’s dismissal, but put them together and the picture becomes much darker.

Not to mention the rumour which was floating around some time ago that Janša and Rupel have a deal where Rupel resigns as soon as they find him a cosy ambassadorial spot. You see, Janša doesn’t have the foreing policy expertise Janez Drnovšek had (and probably stil has). Once a journalist asked “Drle” (who was still PM then) why does he make Rupel do all the dirty work and Drnovšek answered “You think so? It seems the other way around to me…“. But now, as Janša was stuck with Rupel, the latter holds his boss a virtual foreign policy hostage. And the fact that Rupel is losing grip is plainly obvious in the fact that JJ has yet to make a formal visit to any of the neighbouring countries. Helloooo?

The man’s been in power for two years and he hasn’t payed a visit to Zagreb, Rome, Vienna or Budapest… You see, when Germany elects a new chancellor his (or her) first order of foreing policy business is to formally visit Paris. The first foreing visit of an Austrian chancellor is either to Bern (Switzerland) or to Prague (as it happened a couple of years ago, to the dismay of many).

Dimitrij Rupel failed to advise his boss to visit any of the neighbouring countries. And if Rupel is unable to provide sound advice, then he should be replaced as soon as possible. The prospect of his chairing the EU council of ministers is supposedly scarry to a lot of people. You don’t believe me? Apparently Tone Rop (the man who succeeded Janez Drnovšek as PM) wanted to get rid of Rupel quickly, so he thought of proposing him as a candidate for EU Commisioner to the Cabinet of then President of the Commission Romano Prodi. When word of that got out calls were made from Prodi’s cabinet not to name Rupel (Rop heeded those calls, naming Janez Potočnik instead, which was a wise long-term move).

Tone Rop eventually dismissed Rupel, who became a turn-coat, rapidly supporting Janez Janša in his bid to win the elections (which he did). Rupel was rewarded with his former job again, but ever since he became more of an obstacle than an asset – mostly for the reasons cited above. And that’s why I think he has outlived his usefulness to JJ. And we’ve seen how Janša deals with politically expendable people. There is no reason to think that Rupel will be exempt from such treatment. Also, it seems that Rupel has been slightly sidelined lately…

But then again, I may be dead wrong…

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

7 thoughts on “Voices From the Grapevine…”

  1. I thought it was 100 % necessary for a freshly elected PM to visit the neighbouring countries, in order of their importance, and that a lack of such diplomatic activity, the void, is a screaming hint at a lack of competence, which some people will be all too happy to call “arogance”.

  2. Indeed. As far as I know, diplomatic etiquette dictates that PM visit neighbouring countries at the beginning of a new term in office, no matter if he/she was reelected or freshly elected to the post. Also high on the list is Brussels (in EU at least) and all the major allies (in NATO).

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