Yesterday I promised to share with you – the unsuspecting public – some more thoughts on how Zmago Jelinčič can maintain a solid showing when parties with a far better structure can’t put together a decent act.
Some would claim something along the lines of mainstream politics being unable to find the answers to the challenges of an ever more globalised society and thus making room for single-issue or populist parties promising a quick fix and then go about citing examples of Jörg Haider in Austria and Jean Marie Le Pen in France. Which may even be true up to a point (more on “instant politics” in one of the future posts), but – as you no doubt know by now – in Slovenia, global trends are something only tangentially followed.
Zmago Jelinčič and his Slovene National Party are perhaps best described as a post-modern politician/party. Zmago in essence is the SNS and that’s the way a-ha, a-ha he likes it. In socialist times he was a known quantity to both the police (weapons trafficking) and regulars at Ljubljana ballet (where he was a member of the cast) and made himself more publicly known during the war of independence where he put on a show as a some sort of a vigilante:
Special forces my ass! Zmago may be an expert showman, but when he claimed to have singlehandedly captured a tank near Vrhnika, only to be discovered that he missed the thing at point-blank range using a rocket launcher, he was arrested by the police and spent the rest of the war in a prison cell 😀
But the episode launched him in the political arena for real and he immediatelly set forth a nationalist political platform, singling out neighbouring Croatia as Slovenia’s greatest enemy after the war of independence. He also has a curious melange of other political persuasions which don’t neceserily fit one another, but Zmago doesn’t seem to mind and niether does his electorate.
But to cut a long story short, Zmago was always deemed as an annoying little sleaze-bag, who just happened to be in the right place at the right time and though everyone wanted to get rid of him from the parliament, he just kept popping up again. His election results were accordingly minimal. However, as the right wing parties – in an attempt at getting all the votes they can – started venturing into the nationalist area (especially with relation to Croatia), they found themselves on Jelinčič’s turf and suddenly don’t know how to play the game anymore. They’re trying to promote a nationalist agenda without coming off as nationalist (a classic example of trying to fuck without sticking it in). Thus they are legitimising Jelinčič’s political platform, making him instantly more appealing to the general public. Furthermore, as the mainstream right-wing parties are trying to be “the civilised nationalists”, Jelinčič steps in with strong and decisive rhetoric and an occasional PR stunt (like painting afresh Slovene border stoned in a disputed border area).
So what we are seeing is that the coalition parties are trying to carve some room for themselves in the nationalist part of the voting body, but when those voters are finally nudged into stating their political prefference, they see Jelinčič – and not the “classic” political right wing – as their natural choice. Somewhere along the line comes DeSUS (the pensioner’s party) to cook up some more shit, but more on that in the next few days.
4 thoughts on “How Does Jelinčič Keep It Up?”
–> How Does Jelinčič Keep It Up?
I would suggest that saying ‘viagra’ would be too predictable for this blog?
What you are describing is exactly what made Vlaams Belang (formerly Vlaams Blok) a legitimized party. It followed exactly the line you’re describing here : keep emphasizing the problem even if there is none. If there is, exacerbate and exaggerate it until the classic parties believe they have to copy some of the rhetoric and acknowledge there IS indeed a problem, thereby fanning the flames and once again giving credence to the party that started out as merely a nuissance. Personally, I hope it won’t ever come this far in Slovenia, but maybe, just maybe, in ten years time you might have to organize rock concerts against intolerance, extreme nationalism and racism because the political parties are too busy trying to save and reinvent themselves as ‘polite’ nationalists to regain their lost electorate, which fell for the simplistic message of the extreme nationalists. I’m not saying it’ll happen, but it’s more feasible than you might think, sadly…
@Alex: Of course! 😆 Knowing Zmago, I think a more freely available compound is his aphrodisiac of choice 😉
@ARF: Exactly! I will not go into the whole Izbrisani and Roma story again, but – yes. You are absolutely right.
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