The so-called political crisis in Slovenia has boiled down to a storm in a tea-cup. Prime Minister Janez Janša went over to state television in a one-on-one with Jože Možina, director of TV programming (I thought they had editors and journalists to do that) and gave a carefully orchestrated interview where he announced that he will go before the parliament and demand a vote of confidence.
The PM looking very presidential, but talking somewhat wimpish… (photo: RTVSLO)
Of course he didn’t say it right at the begining, because he had an hour of programming to fill, so we witnessed some 50 minutes of whining and whimpering about what a shitty job being a prime minister is. We learnt the following:
–The Boss and his ministers have a time-management problem (The parliament expects us to be at two places at the time – both in Brussels and in Ljubljana attending parliamentary committee sessions)
–Nobody does JJ’s laundry (when I come home late at night I usually bump into a suitcase from my last trip)
–His governing is a pure coincidence (in the last elections the voters gave a mandate for governing to all parliamentary parties. It just so happened that we formed a coalition)
–He is good at approximations (there are between four and six coalition MPs who at one time or another did not support proposed legislation)
–The opposition is very cooperative (it was basically due to low attendance of opposition MPs that we were able to pass a lot of legislation)
But enough sarcasm… In light of Thursday’s interview I must partly revise my evaluation of JJ’s statement on Wednesday. The fact that Janša demands a vote of confidence (to be held Monday night – I’m not holding my breath) strongly suggests that he has more troubles within the coalition than with the opposition. I still think that it was a smart move for him to mention the possibility of resignation, but the opposition was even smarter and stayed put (or ran for cover, depends on how you look at it). On the other hand Janša got hit from a slightly unexpected direction – DeSUS (the pensioners’ party), whose president Karel Erjavec (born in Aiseau, Belgium) called for PM’s immediate resignation and getting it over with. As a result Janša’s hand was forced and he had to do something – as opposed to continuing his bluff which noone really believed but didn’t want to call either.
Thursday’s interview showed two things: That Janša’s government is basically out of fuel and that he has no idea about what to do next – especially about inflation. When he wasn’t going on about what a shitty and thankless job he has (the poor-me syndrome), he cited economic (and other) sucesses of his mandate:
–Unprecedented GDP growth (true, but this is an artificially induced by gov’t vouching for massive loans taken out by DARS to build highways. These loans will have to be repaid, probably in a more sever economic climate)
–Lower unemployment (true, it went down on a yearly basis by 10.000 people, but in that same period about 7.000 people retired. I’m not saying that these are the same people, but that there is – if any – a net gain of 3.000 new jobs. Plus the fact that from September to October 2007 number of uneployed people rose by a thousand.)
–Higher birthrate (Now, this one made me laugh… True, this year Slovenia recorded the highest birthrate in a decade, but that is solely because baby-boomers are finally starting to have children. This has absolutely nothing to do with the policies of this government.)
Also, there seems to be a new culprit responsible for the rising inflation – the euro. Remember, first it was the retailers and their cartel agreements. Then if was the City of Ljubljana. Now its the euro.
All in all, a good portion of this interview was used up by Janša whimpering about his job and effectively saying that if they want this job they can have it. And so he’s off to appear before the parliament.
The vote of confiedence is to be held on Monday late in the evening, as debate will begin as late as at 1800 hrs. And – as the whole thing will undoubtably be televised – you can bet your bottom euro on opposition leaders making good use of every minute of TV prime-time. Quite honestly, I can’t say I’m really looking forward to it, mostly because opposition MPs are not really all that famous for their rhetorical genius. Especially Milan M. Cvikl of the largest opposition party, the Social Democrats (formerly of LDS), who probably deseves the dubious honour of being named opposition chief pitbull for his murderous and irritating style of speech. Fortunately (or unfortunately) he is not alone. On the other side of the aisle we have Branko “Gizmo” Grims of the ruling SDS, whom I like to compare to a highly virulent strain of influenza. Because onse he’s got you, you tend to run cold sweat and high fever.
So perhaps these two should be locked into a room, and whoever comes out alive, his side wins 😉 But since this is unlikely to happen, I think Monday night will provide us with fun for the whole family.
Now, before I sign off and go about creating anothe Sunday Special, this time on Saturday’s massive workers’ demontration, let me just alert my English speaking audience to a not-so-small detail:
The English version of PM’s webiste states that he proposed a motion of no confidence to the parliament. This is utterly wrong, borders on stupidity and is misleading at best. A vote of no confidence can only be initiated by a group of MPs and means that there is a replacement candidate already selected and that a new coalition is most probably (although not neceserily) already formed.
A vote of confidence (a move made by the PM) on the other hand can only be initiated by the government, which wants to check how it stands in the parliament and is mostly used as a tool to keep the existing coalition in check. If the PM loses the vote is means that he runs a caretaker government until a new one is replaced or early elections are called. The good doctor has the exact quote of the Constitution on this.
Just so that there’s no misunderstanding.