Oops! Looks like finance minister Franci Križanič got into another bad fix. Apparently he placed a call to the dean of the Faculty of Economics Dušan Mramor (who, ironically held the finance portfolio during the 2002-2004 government of Tone Rop) and reportedly asked some awkward questions about the composition of a committee where Katja Božič (Križanič’s subordinate at the ministry) was to defend her Ph.D. According to media reports Križanič asked why Jože P. Damijan (minister for development in Janša’s government, still holds the title for the shortest serving minister) is sitting on the committee. Mramor obviously didn’t flinch and thus protected autonomy of the university. He also dully informed all members of the committee as well as university’s rector about the phone call.
Minister of finance Franci Križanič (photo by Jure Eržen/Delo)
Križanič later defended himself saying that he only made an informal inquiry with his colleague at the faculty and when asked about it, the university’s rector Stane Pejovnik agreed that no undue influence was exerted. Looking from the outside however, this looks exactly like pressure being brought to bear and one can not help but think that if someone else rather than Mramor were dean.
Regardless of his motives (Damijan is by some accounts not the type of person one would want in any committee, much less in one’s Ph.D. committee), Križanič should have known better than to make that call. No matter whether he was bringing pressure to bear or whether it was just an honest mistake, Križanič is becoming increasingly accident prone. As such he could soon become too big an embarrassment for PM Pahor to handle and – as we have seen in the case of Karl Erjavec – once the cup is full, the smallest of drops can create a flood of bad moments.
Time for someone to translate The Seven Principles of Public Life into Slovene