Having The Cake And Eating It

Now that the final results of the elections are known and Janez Janša finally sort of conceded, the time has come for Borut Pahor to go about forming a coalition. All eyes are on DeSUS at the moment and bets are being made as to what concession exactly will Karl Erjavec get from the presumptive new PM, with the former already making noises that he expects to get a greater infulence than the smallest coalition party. Katarina Kresal of LDS went apeshit in responce, saynig that members of The Trio (SD, Zares, LDS) should be given prefferential treatment, because DeSUS is a member of Janša’s existing coalition.

Katarina Kresal and Karl Erjavec (source and source respectively)

Kresal’s comment drew a lot of criticism, not in the least by St. Luka, who published an op-ed on Vest.si yesterday (unfortunately Slovene only). It’s gist is that Katarina Kresal and LDS should not receive prefferential treatment, because it was the voters who gave votes to whichever party they saw fit and that the mere fact that The Trio existed does not make its members any more entitled to ministerial posts than any other member of the coalition.

Pengovsky (who ran an op-ed in a Sunday paper, by the way. Luckily, Slovene only) begs to differ. Namely. To a cetain point KK’s statements have merit. It would be ineed somewhat foolsih if Borut Pahor didn’t recoginse the interdependency of The Trio. SD, Zares and LDS need each other. Although the left is not exactly known for the ability to stick together, the fact is that any of the three parties would be very much alone, cold and scared without the other two. They were in it together almost from the very begining (insofar as we can define a speicific point of their begining) and if DeSUS missed the party, then – well – tough luck.

On the other hand, one can understand St. Luka and – by extention – Karl Erjavec (although I assume St. Luka did not intend to defend Teflon Karl). They recevied an unprecedented amount of votes, they are the fourh largest parilamentary group and do not intend to play the part of the fifth wheel. They want to cash in on the votes they got and are acutely aware of their position. However, this is not a game of chess (not yet, anyway), but rather a case of feeding the political masses with two loafs of bread. But unlike Jesus of Nazareth, Borut Pahor does not have enough to go around and will have to dissappoint a lot of people as it is.

So the 64.000 euro question is, whether Pahor should reward Erjavec and DeSUS for being late for the party or pussyfoot around them, given the party’s importance in securing a majority in the parliament.

I think Pahor’s priority should be in forming a more or less stable core of the coalition. DeSUS will probably assume the role of an attention whore from the start, which might ultimately lead to its premature departure from the coalition. Keeping the other two coalition partners happy will go a long way in a scenario like this.

Furthermore: although Katarina Kresal is still a bit rough around the edges and does tend to talk a lot even when she should listen, she seems to be a fast learner and will very likely know the game inside out within a year. And since her party is a member of the victorious Trio, she can and should receive a status that is more than just a reflection of the vote. Without DeSUS there is no coalition (well, at the very least it becomes harder to form one). But without LDS there is no Trio. So if Borut Pahor wants to position himself as a leader of the left bloc, he better keep LDS and Katarina Kresal happy.

Obviously the same applies in case of Gregor Golobič and Zares, but somehting tells me that GG will be able to hold his own against Pahor. But just to make sure that Slovenia avoids four more years of a top-down approach in politics, where all leaders of coalition parties were also ministers, enabling the PM to boss them around, the president of the Parliament should be a member of one of the junior coalition parties, possibly its president. This would also restore the balance of power in Slovenia, which was tilted heavily in favour of the executive branch in the last four years, reducing the parliament to rubber-stamp duties.

But can Borut Pahor have the cake and eat it? Surprisingly, I think yes. Namely. He will probably have to split 14 ministerial posts and 14 state secreatries (second only to ministers) among coalition parties, where (for argument’s sake) a state secretary is “worth” half a ministerial posts. SD has 29 deputies, Zares has 9, DeSUS 7 and LDS 5, equaling 50 votes in the parliament. And to keep LDS happy, the presumptive PM might think along the lines of giving LDS and DeSUS the same number of ministers and state secretaries, making a slight dent in DeSUS stature (but not much), perhaps offsetting that by giving them one really important ministry. But not the ministry of defence. Even Karl knows better by now :mrgreen: