Horse Trading (Divide Et Impera)

The Trio is now officially The Quartet. Social Democrats, Zares, LDS and DeSUS, members of the future ruling coalition have apparently reached a deal on the coalition agreement. While the actual text of the agreement is not yet public, it is known that the agreement will detail government policies in a wide range of fields, from media to workers’ participation in profit sharing and pensions.

The Quartet (photo: Matej Povše/Dnevnik)

Especially the latter were a bit of a hold up, as DeSUS – the pensioners’ party demanded an across-the-table increase in pensions, but later agreed on an inverse increase, where people with pensions lower than € 500 per month will receive two € 150 bonuses in 2009, while those with larger pensions will receive proportionally lower bonuses (the bigger the pension the smaller the bonus). At this stage it is not exactly known what consession have been granted to Zares and LDS, but off the top of my head I’d say Zares stuck to its guns especially in the field of media legislation, while LDS remains a mystery. It is clear that – as a the smallest party in the new coalition – it had very little leverage and I wouldn’t be surprised if it kept its chips off the table for the next round of coalition negotiations.

As a sidenote: having a particular interest in the area, I’d like to reiterate the “four-point-test“, later ammended to a “three-point-test” which would in my opinion show whether the new government is serious about media freedom:

a) Change the law on RTV Slovenia, radically lowering the number of politically appointed members of both boards (to a max of, say, 25%).
b) The Law on media should be ammended, re-introducing the clause forbidding media contentration.
c) Forbid operators of future digital radio and television networks from becoming content providers as well.

Be that as it may, The Quarter now moves into dangerous territory: deciding who exactly will get a particular portfolio. It seems that Karl Erjavec of DeSUS succeeded with his demand of getting a ministry more than LDS, while it is also almost a given that there are some portfolios the PM-apparent Borut Pahor has already earmarked for his party and already has a specific person in mind to run it.

There are fifteen ministries up for grabs and up to two ministries without portfolio. Each ministry has a state secretary (something like an underminister), wheras the PM can name four additional state secretaries to serve directly under him. There are also fourteen Government Offices, some more political than other (ranging from Office for European Affairs to Slovene Intelligence Agency). Some of these GOs can be elevated to the level of a ministry without porftoilo.

And although they’re supposed to be left to mind their own business, one can be pretty sure that horse trading in names will also include parliamentary committees, as a party, which will have felt disenfranchised by its influence in the government will probably be compensated by a larger influence in the parliament.

In any case, things can still get ugly, as it is inevitable that egoes are about to clash. PM-apparent Borut Pahor already passed one test by cajoling Karl Erjavec back to the negotiating table. Now he faces an even bigger test, when he has to actually divide the influence and rule the government.

Today The Prez will hold consultations with leaders of all parliamentary groups, after which he will formally nominate his candidate for Prime Minister. He is expected to nominate Borut Pahor later today in or tommorow morning at the latest.

If, however, you’re feeling lucky, you can go over to Dr. Filomena’s and try to guess the exact composition of Pahor’s government. How many ministers will the next government have? Who will get which portfolio? How many of them will each party have? Place a bet with dr. Fil and win a prize!

BTW: Sleeping with Pengovsky went online exactly two years ago.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

19 thoughts on “Horse Trading (Divide Et Impera)”

  1. Dang, two years already? Congrats and hope you keep it up (unlike some of us) – you’re officially my favourite Slovene blogger!

  2. Time flies when you’re having fun 🙂 Luckily, I don’t have a problem with keeping it up (yet), although (truth be said) there is the big three-oh waiting just around the corner 😉

  3. Congrats on the two years of interesting and sexy blogging, P! (and for being so kind as to give me a platform within it). This should be celebrated with at least 24 bottles of Kasteelbier, one for each month! 😀

  4. Thanks!

    You mean preventing operators from being content providers?

    Quite simple, really: If company X runs a digital media network (like DAB – digital radio), then it could easily find itself in a conflict of interest if it were to provide its own content as well.

    Namely, as a network operator, it has to perform a public service, allow access under same conditions to everyone and not give prefferential treatment to anyone (be it in economic or technical terms).

    If you connect to a digital network and are greeted by your operator’s wide ranging content, you are unlikely to switch to another content provider, unless the user really knows what he or she is looking for. Thus all other content providers are in a disadvantageous position in relation to the network operator.

    For example – although there are many mobile web sites out there in Slovenia as well, most people still only use Planet or Vodafone live (depending on the operator) because it is the first thing they see when they open their web browser. And since both sites provide a wide range of content, they in effect discourage users to browse mobile web for other content.

    Now imagine having to pay to provide content over a digital network…

    Any clearer?

  5. Yes and no. But that more than likely is simply because I’m just a simpleton. 🙂 Something better discussed over a beer or three than in this little comment box.

  6. HB SwP!
    Glad that you are blogging about slovene politic, unfortunately in English, but therefore fortunately without the highly one sided participants in the debates!
    I hope reading you for a long time!

  7. Thanks!

    Actually, the first few posts were in Slovene, but then I figured there is little or no in-depth information about Slovenian politics in English (save what the state press agency publishes).

    So there I was, trying to carve a niche for myself on the internet 🙂

  8. And glad he does us this favour, Davor. Some of us would like to know more about Slovenia than that it used to be part of Yugoslavia. P – and several others (looking in Dr. Fil’s general direction for no reason at all *whistle*) – do a fine job in providing the world with a broad outlook on all things Slovene.

    And the general weekly nudity for all gender and sexual preferences is more than an added bonus. :mrgreen:

  9. Three-Oh around the corner? Been there, done that, it doesn’t hurt that much. Only hope that’s not the reason, why you advertise 5 tips to get a flat stomach just left of this comment box 🙂 As for two years of blog… damn, it feels much longer. Keep up the good work, I could never have done it on a daily basis! 🙂

  10. @Luka:


    So you did see the ad… I wonder…;)

    As for doing it daily: I know… I’m a machine! Mwahahahahaha, mwahahahaha 😈

  11. I’m really disappointed with the response to my blog post. Nobody dares guess? I really will give out a prize!!! 😀 Come on, guys and gals!

  12. Dr. Fil: I love playing but I don’t really know who’s who so I cannot name too many … I’d love to see Mr. Vajgl as the foreign minister, though.

    Pengovsky: you used to comment so much and so well on Michael’s blog that you got me hoping you’ll start blogging one day… 🙂

  13. @Dr. Fil: A prize? I like prizes! Oh! It’s in Slovene. This could prove tricky for me…

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