Zmago Jelinčič Stirring The Pot, SDS Up To Its Old Tricks

More polls. The latest one was done by NinaMedia and run by Dnevnik daily and POP TV. Two things stand out. Firstly, the poll recorded an almost exact same percentage of undecided voters than a month ago (a rather welcome change from the wildly fluctuating number of “don’t knows” we’ve seen in the last couple of months). Secondly, the nationalists (SNS) led by Zmago Jelinčič recorded a sharp rise in popularity.


We can safely assume that Jelinčič’s rise in popularity is directly and indirectly the result of renewed border disputes between Slovenia and Croatia. As the latter revoked its Ecological Fishery Zone and was in return given a seat on the fast train to the EU, Slovenia has lost its leverage in Brussels and must now deal with Croatia on its own. Its just that the current situation suits politicians on both sides of the border just fine. The dispute is easy ground for scoring cheap political points. All you need is to go to the disputed area, have cameras follow you and start talking tough. If you repaint a border-marker ot two, all the better. This is exactly whar Zmago Jelinčič did: He went into a bush that supposedly separates Slovenia and Croatia on the bank of the river Mura, and went about single-handedly protecting Slovene national interests. Or so he says. TV crews obligingly followed and participated in this charade and made Zmago the day’s headline. Cocksucking supreme, if you ask me. Why not just ignore the guy?

In any case, Zmago seems to have struck a chord with some of the 2,7% additional voters who support him. I would sumbit to you, however, that a large proportion of his newfound support materialised “by extension”, so to speak. Namely, anytime Croatia is on the menu, people instinctively think of Jelinčič and his anti-Croatian rhetoric. In any case, Zmago Jelinčič and his SNS are the only party making any serious gains this time around


Having said that, the other part of the nationalist wing, Sašo Peče’s Lipa is again loitering around the 1% mark, which isn’t exactly good news for Sašo, as he should be making headlines by now, having a new party and all. In other races, Katarina Kresal’s LDS seems to have closed the gap on Zares, and is now trailing the party led by Gregor Golobič by a mere 1,1 percent, while SD and SDS kept first and second place respectively, with both parties losing some support but still breathing down each other’s neck.

We now have two sets of polls for a sort-of-longitudal comparison. If we take Delo’s polls of February and March and look at them side by side – well, one above another, actually – with Ninamedia’s polls of the same period, we can recognize some similarities, especially as far as LDS, Zares, SNS and SLS are concerned (the latter just can’t get off the ground). But there are also big differences: In Delo poll Janša’s SDS took the lead with Pahor’s Social democrats coming in second, while DeSUS and NSi enjoyed a hefty addition to their popularity, while Ninamedia poll detects an opposite situation, with SD marginally leading over SDS and DeSUS and NSi taking a slump


Pengovsky’s projecton: As other subjects grow more imporant in this campaign, Jelinčič’s bump is not expected to last. But this is fast becoming an eight (OK, at least seven) horse race, where a development in any of the smaller parties might have huge impact on any of the two big parties. So a continuosly strong showing by Zares had made its president Gregor Golobič self-confident to the point of not excluding joining a ruling coalition, although he was very conservative about his party’s goals as late as December last. But apparenly a lot can change in three months. So, if Zares and LDS (and possibly DeSUS) manage to hold on to or even improve their current ratings, their importance might grow far beyond their size as Borut Pahor will be pressed from all sides to form a centre-left government (with him being the centre – in more ways than one).

Oh, and while we’re on the polls issue: POP TV reports that SDS went mouse-click happy (Slovene only, I’m afraid) as one or more computers within its domain were used to vote on a web-poll run by Žurnal24 daily. What apparently happened is that SDS organised a click campaign and bumped the support for PM Janša in the poll. Before the trick was spotted, the poll said that 95% of responeed supported the PM against Andirjana Starina Kosem . Can’t say I’m surprised, really, because we’we seen something like that in Vroči Stol, when 83% of respondees supported Janez Janša against Borut Pahor. When will these guys learn that old tricks just don’t work any more?

EDIT: Olimpija lost yesterday. Bugger.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

10 thoughts on “Zmago Jelinčič Stirring The Pot, SDS Up To Its Old Tricks”

  1. It’s not that the old tricks don’t work any more, it’s that they are too clumsy and too stupid to make them work, ending up looking like a bunch of sorry-ass clowns as they are. I mean 83% against Pahor! Give me a break! And they’ve been performing this kind of stunts all their time in power out – and they haven’t learned a thing. I mean, look at Zares – the tricks do work, but SDS opt not too learn, ending up crying and wining over and over again… Sign.

  2. Oh for a 7 horse race in British or American politics. Sounds like a real democracy to me unlike our choice between The War Party and The Other War Party with their joint slogan of “We can fool enough of the people enough of the time”

    PS – Sorry Olimpija lost – I was following it online last night and was affronted on your behalf by the tie being billed in the UK as Salzburg v Laibach. Any explanations for this anachronism?

  3. @pele: Point…

    @plavtrg: Hm, using the word “democracy” in Slovenian context might just be stretching the term a bit 🙂 But, hey, you go with what you have, right? 😉 As for “Laibach” – I wouldn’t be too offended. In “old” Slovene Salzburg is still called “Solnograd” (SaltTown) and Munich was once “Monakovo”. But maybe the Austrians were trying to add insult to injury 😈

  4. Hmm. It seems to me, although admittedly from a distance, that you have:

    a)A number of competing parties
    b)Parties that offer voters a real choice
    c)Proportional representation
    d)Universal suffrage
    e)Extensive pre-election media coverage
    f)Little if any vote fraud
    f)No Diebold machines

    Are you really saying it isn’t a democracy or are you saying that the electorate are either too thick to vote for the right candidates or too easily conned by the media? If its the former then what’s your definition? If its the latter then its the same the “free” world over. Which country’s democracy is the one you look up to as a shining example? (Please don’t say its ours!) I’m not being deliberately objectionable – its a genuine attempt to understand.

  5. Hm… obviously, I don’t subscribe to the “public is too thick to vote for the right guy” theory. But what is lacking in our democracy is awarness of the fact that winning power does not mean a “free-for-all”.

    All of the things you listed are true. But you have to understand that in a society as small as Slovenian power must be exerted much more carefully, because the it is actually possible to control everything as power does not dissipate through various levels and degrees of responsibility as – say – in the US or UK.

    In my opinion Slovenia has gone from bad to worse in terms of democratic standards. We’ve gone from ignoring the trouble of Roma community to government endorsed pogroms. We’ve gone from discreet pressures on the media to special sessions of the parliament where the PM blatanlty attacks a leading newspaper. We’ve gone from a goverment influenced public television to a government-ran state television. We’ve gone from poorly hidden corruption to open-and-admitted acts of nepotism. Etc… What this country needs is an informal code of conduct. A set of rules which are not written anywhere, but which define the do’s and dont’s for elected officials. For example – a government appointed president of a Supervisory board got an earl copy of an especially good annual report and he rushed to buy stocks of this company before the report was made public. This is called insider information trading and is obviously illegal. But check this out: he didn’t know! It’s not that he willingly broke the law, it just didn’t occur to him that he might have a conflict of interest on his hands!

    What bothers me is not the lack of democracy, but a maltreatment of a democracy, as if it is here to stay, with no need for nurtuirng or development.

  6. Oh, well eh, my point was that populism tricks (eg. publishing slightly corrected polls) still work, but SDS just isn’t serious or capable or interested enough to apply them correctly. I thought you were referring those tricks

  7. Thanks. I now have a better understanding of your concerns and will refrain from feeling that you just think that the democratic grass is greener on the other side. I’m sure you know that it isn’t – the most elaborate rules of government won’t stop misuse of power. But you’re right – at least you should have some rules.

    At least I know that the real grass is greener in Slovenia!

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