History Repeating

The title of this Shiley Bassey song came to mind when I stumbled upon an issue of Delo newspaper dated December 9th 1985. It was a funny feeling. Dated almost 23 years ago, this particular issue of Delo bears striking similarities to today’s headlines. It is as if we are running around in circles. You don’t believe me? Try this on for size:

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1: West Germany Threatned By A Wave Of Strikes
A quarter of a century later the Germans are still up to their old tricks apparently

2. OPEC Looking To Solve Oil Woes
Hm… If you only knew back then….

3. Primož Ulaga Beats World Elite In Canada
The legendary Slovene ski-jumper won in Thunder Bay, Canada and went on to win the Planica event three years later. This year the whole thing was dominated by Austrians

4. USA Amassing Planes Off Lybia?
USA Amassing Planes Off Iran?

5. Hurricane Strikes Germany, Floods Hit Holland
The only difference is that they didn’t name European windstorms back then

6. Page 5: 50 members of Albanian separatist movement arrested
It’s just that today its the Serbs who are getting arrested.

7. Jesenice Decisevly Beat Ljubljana
Well, this time around, Ljubljana got the upper hand. Against the Austrians, mind you 🙂

8. Police Officers Killed In South Africa
Only two?


But, there are also differences…

9. Bishops Agree: A Compromise Between Fractions
A paper, even today accused of being communist, running an article about Vatican proceedings in top left corner back in 1985?. My, my…

10. A New Bankonte For 5000 Dinars
Well, we’re still far from a new euro banknote being issued – let alone one with Tito’s face on it – but, not surprisingly, inflation was a problem then as it is now.

Well, there you have it. If you’re feeling like Bill Murray you may be on to something. Shirley Bassey knew all along, of course 😉

DeSUS: The Little Party That Could

I almost missed it, but there was another poll by Episcenter published Sunday last. Please note, that this poll too – as all other Episcenter polls in this series – was commisioned by the government, which might have influenced the results. But be that as it may, two things are immediately obvious: the ruling SDS of PM Janša has surpassed its oppositon rival, the Social Democrats for the first time. In terms of total percentage points both parties have gained, but while the SD recorded only a token increase in support, SDS made substantial headway. Secondly, the “don’t knows”: this time around Episcenter records a staggeringly low percentage of undecided voters – a mere 19 percent.

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In other interesting races: Zares kept the third place, while LDS (which some of the more prominent Zares and SD members used to call home) gained slightly, closing the gap a bit. The pensioners’ party (DeSUS) gained as well, which means that its eloquent-if-somewhat-sleazy boss does indeed know how to dodge bullets and survive politically. Supporters of Zmago Jelinčič (the nationalist party – SNS) seem to have remained unfazed by formation of rival nationalist party Lipa (headed by former SNS second-in-command Sašo Peče). The latter got a sole percentage point, but that is actually better than expected, as Peče & Co. have little to show for at the moment – save a nice-looking website.

And finally – christian democrat NSi (Nova Slovenija) and it’s slightly more enterpreneurial cousin-party, Slovene People’s Party (SLS) are hovering around the 3-percent mark, with NSi gaining the upper hand this time around. This is the longitudal graph representing all the polls in a single timeline:

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What to say? For starters, if the exceptionally low number of the undecideds persists, we can assume that the polarization has already begun and that a visciously bloody fight for scrap-votes will ensue the minute the EU presidency end. Quite possibly, we won’t even have to wait until then as the SD will apparently have to do something, fast to prevent its ratings spiraling out of control. Yes, there is the presidency and the anti-tycoon drive which have bumbed up Janša’s ratings (as predicted), but that doesn’t mean Borut Pahor can sit on his pretty arse and do nothing but wait. They seem to be aware of that, as they’ve hired the same campaign managers which have helped the likes of Bill Clinton and Hugo Chavez get elected (link kindly provided by abaris, any relation to yesterday’s post is coincidential yet intentional 🙂 ).

What amuses me, though, is DeSUS. Namely: I’ve said on a number of occasions that pensioner’s party and similar cleavage parties (don’t google it 🙂 ) should be illegal, as they go against the essence of democracy (in my opinion at least political platforms should be shared based on beliefs and ideology and not based on age). But they seem to be turning into the little party that could.

Most of you remember the referendum on Triglav Insurance, which was held on the same day than last year’s presidential elections and when the voters overwhelmingly rejected the proposed privatisation of the state-owned financial heavy-weight. DeSUS and SLS went apeshit over it and demanded that the company’s controlling share be trasfered to the pension fund instead of being sold. Exactly a week ago the government passed a bill which proposed that a 34-percent share be transfered to the said fund, hopefully making it solvent for the forseable future. Having achieved this, DeSUS’s president Karel Erjavec seems to have the last laugh for now, as he actually does have something to show for joining the coalition.

Namely, three-and-a-half years ago Erjavec took a lot of heat withing the party, when some of its more fervernt members vowed to cut their remaining leg and burn their walking canes before going in bed with Janez Janša. But Erjavec maintained that their interests will be better protected if they join the colalition as opposed to remaining outside and bitching about it. With Triglav, Erjavec made his point big time. The added bonus being that he seems to bask in glory alone, as SLS is still trying to pick itself up.

Pahor wooing Rupel?

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Borut Pahor and Dimitrij Rupel in a romantic setting.

A little birdie told me Borut Pahor asked Dimitrij Rupel if he’d be willing to stay on as foreign minister. I went LOL, OMG and WTF simultaneously. If the rumour is true, than two things are possible: a) either Borut Pahor doesn’t really want to win the upcoming elections or b) someone big and powerful won’t throw money at you if you don’t co-opt a the last, best defence of US interests in this part of the world.

But hopefully the rumour is not true.

Expulsion of Andrijana Starina Kosem

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ASK while she was still the big economic kahuna (photo: BOBO/Žurnal 24, source)

From what I hear, becoming a member of Slovene Democratic Party is not all that easy. Much like the party that kicked out Janez Janša long ago for being too hardcore, SDS too until recently required a letter of recommendation by at least two members of the party, for a prospective member to join. Also until recently members were required to sign a statement that they didn’t collaborate with the communist regime and faced expulsion if proven otherwise. The party abandonded both practices after it won the election (apparently too many people, needed to run the country, didn’t fit the criteria), but it can still refuse membership to people whom it deems unfit to be members of the SDS.

Alternatively, the party can kick out people who have acted contrary to its interests and this is what happened to Andrijana Starina Kosem, a senior party member and the all-powerful business-biyotch, who blew the whistle on Janez Janša and his meddling with Delo newspaper. She now claims that she heard of her expulsion from the media, but pengovsky asks: What. Did. You. Expect?

I mean, for crying out loud, woman! Not only did you stick your finger up the ass of your boss, you also wiggled it and practically gave the man a dirty sanchez! 😮 Of course you were on the fasttrack to party oblivion.

But truth be said, this is all probably just a show for the simple… Unlike her former boss, who appealed his expulsion from the Communist Party, Andrijana Starina Kosem doesn’t seem to give a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys about the expulsion. I’m sure monies thrown at her at her current job more than alleviate the pain.

BTW: Just a sidenote – it must be said, that – on paper at least – the ruling SDS has much more transparent rules for membership than the opposition Social Democrats. How both fare in reality is fortunately beyond me.