When the most good looking of European leaders (and I’m not talking about Silvio Berlusoni) is not busy reassuring the fair people of Slovenia that his government has things under control, he is apparently indluging in massive politically motivated changes at the helm of various state companies. Janez Janša‘s SDS even published a counter on its website, displaying the number of politically motivated changes – according to their count. At the time od this writing, the number has reached a staggering twenty-eight.
Replacements counter on www.sds.si
There are some 3700 senior staff in the civil service and para-government institutions. So far, the government of Borut Pahor replaced twenty eight people, which means that the SDS views every replacemement as political. But why is this such a problem? Because Borut Pahor promised in the election campaign that his government will only replace people if they prove to be incompetent. Which he even may have planned to do, but as one administration sets in certain personel changes are inevitable. I mean, it is sort of natural that a new minister will want someone he can trust and knows he/she can work with as, say, secretary general of the ministry (basically the head of the administration). Also, if the new government wants to pursue a different set of policies with regard to the companies the state owns, it seems logical that state’s representatives in those companies are replaced.
However. Replacements as such are not a problem. The problem is whom does the government replace these people with. If competence really is the main criteria(as opposed to Janša’s regime where party membership was the prevalent factor), then it must be said that this criteria could be enforced much more thoroughly than it is at the moment. Case in point being the recent nomination of Draško Veselinovič as the CEO of Nova Ljubljanska banka (NLB), the largest Slovene bank.
Veselinovič was basically a shoo-in as he was nominated and confirmed by the bank’s supervisory board and not in a shareholders’ meeting. Although he does come from the world of finance (until now he was CEO of Deželna banka, a small rural-oriented bank, before that the CEO of Ljubljana stock exchange), he also ran on LDS ticket in last year’s parliamentary elections and nearly got elected. In fact, he came so close that once party president Katarina Kresal became Minister of the Interior, he was next in line to become an MP. Instead, he took a pass, allowing long-time MP Tone Anderlič to get into the parliament yet again, while he himself waited for what must surely have been a job offer agreed in advance. At least in general terms.
And even that might be acceptable (might being the operative word). But in my book Veselinovič’s main problem is the fact that he was embroiled in a scandal on Ljubljana stock exchange when a number of high profile stock-brokers and heads of stock-brokerin firms lost their licences, while Veselinovič and the other member of a two-man Board had to resign their posts due to allegations that firms increased their values at the end of the year by closing virtual deals on the stock exchange. Although the case against Veselinovič was dropped (due to lack of evidence) this is not exactly a thing you want on a resume of a CEO of the nation’s largest bank. But hey, Borut Pahor probably agreed on Veselinovič as a reward to LDS for playing ball and not causing too much trouble during formation of the government. Thus everyone is happy.
Everyone? Not exactly. Zares, the second largest coalition partner is fuming. Specifically, its president Gregor Golobič and minister of economy Matej Lahovnik went apeshit over Veselinovič and when PM Pahor pulled the same stunt only days later in forming an Energy Council (a supposedly advisory body on energy policies), Lahovnik basically threatened to resign (Lahovnik: “if this goes on each of us will have to rethink its role in this government”). As the energy sector is under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Economy, Lahovnik was somewhat suprised that this council was formed unbeknownst to him, prompting his party boss Gregor Golobič to demand a coalition summit where a detailed procedure for future nominations would be agreed upon.
Trust is good, control is better, said Lenin.
DeSUS, it seems, is keeping quiet.
However, former PM Janez Janša is not keeping quiet. Apparently he is about to file yet another suit, this time against columnist Vlado Miheljak who has been indulging in deconstructing Janša’s personality for the last 20 years (Miheljak is a clinical psychiatrist by education and a professor of psychology by trade) and apparently Janša had had it last Wednesday, when Miheljak in his column for Dnevnik daily wrote that Janša more or less wrecked Slovenia.
Vlado Miheljak has now joined the distinguished club of Tone Rop, Boško Šrot, Magnus Berglund, Drago Kos, Bojan Potočnik and fellow psychiatrist Slavko Ziherl. I suspect that in tomorrow’s column Miheljak will draw paradoxes from Janša being wrongly accused by the Army in 1988 and Janša wrongly accusing others of slander in 2009.
Should be fun.
This brings the total number of people Janša is sueing to seven. Ha! It took an entire government to replace 28 people, while Janša in more or less same period of time personally dragged seven people to court. No wonder his government was able to replace hundreds.