Janša 2.0

While leaders of the new centre right coalition busied themselves with signing the coalition agreement at high noon on Wednesday, President Danilo Türk rained on their parade a bit, calling a press conference at exactly the same time, where he announced that he will not be making another PM nomination and added that he will leave it to the parliamentary groups to settle the matter as they see fit. In other words, he refused to go with the flow and nominate SDS leader Janez Janša for the PM post.

Signing of the coalition agreement. Looks like the Presidium of the Central Committee 🙂 (Photo: BoBo/RTVSLO)

In all honesty, the new PM apparent was quite unfazed by this, as he had already secured a majority of 52 votes (50 coalition plus both minorities MPs) and will be laughing all the way to the voting booth, as the parliament is scheduled to vote on Janša’s PM bid later today, but the president’s remarks and moves are not to be just discarded. Firstly, because he’s the president and secondly, because he went all out against Janša, thus firing his first salvo in a possible (but not yet confirmed) re-election bid. In fact, The Prez pulled precious few punches, saying that he still considers Zoran Janković as an appropriate candidate and since his first choice did not secure a majority, he did not make another nomination. He added that in his view Janša does not have the necessary legitimacy for the nomination due to the fact that he is on trial for the Patria Affair and had therefore left it to the coalition itself to do the magic.

The feud

The feud between Türk and Janša goes way back, all the way to the election Sunday 2007 when Danilo Türk won the presidential elections by a landslide in what was – among other things – a protest vote against the first Janša government, an event which saw Janša go into sulking mode, unleash the war against tycoons (which he helped create) and, as it turned out, set the tone of the political debate which lasts to this very day. There was a lot of bad blood between the two, especially after Janša’s SDS tried to implicate Türk in the Velikovec bombing of 1979 by means of creative photocopying archive documents. It was in the aftermath of the Archivegate that Türk said in an interview that the politics of Janez Janša should be rejected and later on that he will be very careful as to whom he will nominate for the PM position. So, in one sense The Prez remained true to his word (the will-nominate/will-not-nominate flip-flop notwithstanding). However, in making his point and exercising – albeit necessary – forays into daily politics, The Prez again threaded on thin ice.

Saying that Janša does not have the legitimacy for the PM post is tricky at best. Now, to be sure, Janša indeed does have a huge legitimacy problem, but that is not for the president to say. Or, if the president does say it, he should be damn well prepared to do everything constitutionally possible to make sure Janša does not clinch the nomination. Namely, as president, Danilo Türk swore to uphold the constitution and act in the best interest of the country. One of the basic constitutional principles is the presumption of innocence. Thus, until proven guilty, Janša is free to run and be elected to any office.

If you do it, do it with style

Alternatively, if being on trial and/or having been indicted is the new standard, than the president should not only make a token effort to have the parliament elect a PM with a clean record, so to speak, but should use any and all procedural possibilities available to him, including nominating another candidate and – this is vital – speaking before the parliament on the issue. For the president can ask (and is usually granted the request) to address the parliament on whatever issue he (or she) sees fit. Granted, this would in all likelihood change nothing, but neither does just saying that Janša has a legitimacy problem and leave it at that. Both approaches are sure to produce an ominous backlash especially from SDS faithful, but hey – if you gotta go, you do it with style.

Pengovsky would be much more pleased if The Prez did none of the above. A short press release saying that he will not be making a nomination would suffice. Even more, it would perhaps be politically opportune for the president to in fact nominate Janša, just for the sake of doing the unexpected, but that’s water under the bridge now.

History repeating

So, unless things go badly wrong for the SDS leader, Slovenia will sport Janša 2.0 in a couple of hours. History, they say, tends to repeat itself. First as a tragedy and then as a farce. And there are indications that Janša’s second term will be something of farce.

Not only is the PM-apparent on trial in one of the biggest corruption scandals in the (albeit short) history of this country. Two out of four other coalition leaders are, eeer, judicially challenged as well. Karl Erjavec of DeSUS was cleared of charges of abuse of powers and negligence in a case tangential to Patria Affair, but the case in on appeal and the verdict is still not in. Gregor Virant, however, was recently sentenced to a month in prison with a two-year probation period because of libel (pending appeal). One of these two men will be running the parliament for the next few years, the other will probably be named a minister.

Radovan Žerjav is also in court in civil case (the fallen construction tycoon Ivan Zidar sued him for slander) which leaves Ljudmila Novak of NSi the only one with a relatively clean record. Which is not surprising, since she took over the party after it was evicted from the parliament in 2008 elections. And just to complete the circle, the apparent leader of the opposition Zoran Janković is reported to have been indicted over tax evasion and abuse of power as well. Now, it is possible that all of the above will sputter out into nothingness and everyone will in the end be cleared (which is why presumption of innocence is so important) but if you talk credibility and/or legitimacy, there’s precious little to go around as it is.

Balking at 300 million, not blinking at 1 billion

Additionally, the new coalition vowed to cut budget expenses for something between 800 million to 1 billion euro in its first term year. Which is somwhere between 8 to 10% of the annual Slovenian budget. While budgetary discipline is a noble goal and even if we can agree to disagree on approaches (some people say less radical cuts would produce better results), the question at hand is: when the outgoing government proposed a 300 million cut in public sector expenditures, the SDS went apeshit over it and refused to support the emergency law, threatening a referendum, yet now the very same SDS and its coalition want a 800 million cut and expect it to just sail through? Credibility my ass. Not to mention the fact that the whole of Europe already realised that too much austerity will stifle what little growth potential there is.

Saving on watering office plants

And lastly, there’s the eyewash with the “thinning of the government”. Janša’s coalition just passed a new law on government (which, incidentally, Janša 1.0 was the last to amend into its present form) and reduced the number of ministries from eighteen to eleven, merging a few portfolios and reshuffling scope of powers for others. Two changes that stand out are the merger of education, sports and culture portfolios (previously three separate ministries) and moving the Office of the State Prosecutor General from under justice ministry, to ministry of internal affairs (colloquially known as the ministry for police). Both of these are problematic at best.

Until now, culture was a relatively important portfolio, which included media policy oversight, not to mention keeping the country’s cultural infrastructure (museums, theatres, galleries and such) afloat and even building a couple of new ones. Sure, money can always be spent better, but what kind of message does it send, when a government reduces a culture potrfolio to the level of a secretariat, while farming, fisheries and agriculture, something that would be long dead if it weren’t for EU funds, still remains a full-blooded ministry?

As for shifting prosecution from justice to internal affairs, this is creating an unpleasant whiff of political control over the prosecution. You see, on paper, both the Police and the Office of Prosecutor General are relatively autonomous and it shouldn’t really matter what ministry they’re under. But a minister can still execute control over both agencies and of course it is better to have just one minister keep tabs on both the cops and the prosecutors. Especially if the minister in question is an SDS member and not from the DLGV quota as Gregor Virant had hoped when he demanded the move be made in an (again) naive hope that he will prevent up-front any Janša’s attempts to influence the judicial proceedings against him.

But lastly, the whole “thinning of the government” thing is not worth a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys. A true government reorganisation would encompass a redesign of policies and finances and remodelling of the bureaucratic apparatus which would reflect the new priorities. There was a half-hearted attempt at that somewhere during Pahor’s government and it didn’t really catch on. What the new coalition proposes is nothing but a few office changes which does shit even in terms of cutting down number of various government offices, agencies and directorates, let alone in terms of policy redesign (or horizontal interoperability, to use the more fancy term). In short: the only savings that will come from there will be lower bills for watering flowers in ministers’ offices.

With that in mind, pengovsky is keenly expecting the first address by the new PM-apparent and can’t wait to see whom he picks as ministers.

EDIT: This post was written over the course of the week an scheduled for publishing on Friday afternoon. Point being, I had no way of knowing Primož Cirman of Dnevnik newspaper will be using the exact same title in his lead in today’s Objektiv 🙂

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Karl Erjavec Wants To Be No.2

Unless the world comes to a premature end, Janez Janša of SDS will be sworn in as the tenth Slovenian PM come Saturday. In what was an act of political expedience, the coalition agreement was hammered out during the weekend, while leaderships of SDS, DLGV, SLS, NSi and DeSUS are meeting today to vote on whether or not to join the centre-right coalition.

Not exactly up to pengovsky’s standard, but this photoshop is circling the Slovenian internets lately 🙂 (source)

Although not an entirely open-and-shut case, it seems safe to assume that everybody is more or less on-board with this one. Some key members of DeSUS (the pensioners’ party) are not really head-over-heels about going to bed with Janez Janša and a relatively coordinated lobbying action is taking place to convince enough members of the party’s executive committee to vote against. But note that the phrase “relatively coordinated” should be taken with a pinch of salt. To be honest: the general level of party organisation in Slovenia is awful. If companies in this country were ran that way, they’d go bankrupt in a matter of years. Oh, wait…

Karl Erjavec wants to become No. 2

Anyways. As both readers of this blog know, DeSUS is in the kingmaker position and it is generally considered that they drove a hard bargain. Whether or not it was hard enough, remains to be seen. Janez Janša was smart enough to at least try to get the parties agree to a coalition agreement first and leave the issues of specific ministerial nominations for after he is sworn in. However, names have already been leaked and there are a couple personnel problems the new PM-apparent will have to tackle soonest.

First and foremost, it seems that Gregor Virant and Karl Erjavec are locked in a bit of a cock-fight over the presidency of the parliament, nominally the No.2 spot in the country, just after the President of the Republic. As you know, Virant’s ascent to the position was the result of a similar cock-fight between Zoran Janković and Borut Pahor back in the days when Jay-Z was eyeing the PM spot himself. Back then Virant said time and again that he let himself be elected as president of the parliament just to get things going and that he will vacate the position should any coalition agreement demand so.

Well, guess what… Turns out Virant kind of likes it there and (apparently) for the same reason as Erjavec wants to get there. A high-profile, perk-heavy, pizazz-rich position with a security detail, bullet-proof car and a relatively low workload. At least compared to any ministerial position where the occupants are sure to piss blood during the next few years. Alternatively, Erjavec is earmarked for the position of the foreign minister, which should provide some laughs, not just at home, but also around the continent. With the pensioner party FM, the term “old school diplomacy” might take on a whole new meaning.

Character assassination

But be that as it may, the balance of power seems to favour Erjavec. Not only do he and his party hold the key to a Janša-led coalition, Gregor Virant and his DLGV are in no real position to bargain. This was graphically demonstrated today, when the dirty-lanudry-news-sites posted a picture of Jani Soršak of DLGV, former head of national anti-trust office and a man widely expected to take over as justice minister in a not-really-intimate-but-suggestive-enough position with a woman who is not his wife. Not that his really is anyone’s concern (save maybe his and his wife’s), but it was all a part of a quick-and-dirty character assassination, which – in addition to the picture – included a much more damaging accusation that Soršak, while still the head of anti-trust office, in fact facilitated an attempt to take over Večer daily through a straw company which definitely did not have the funds to buyout the newspaper’s owners.

Soršak alleged role was to turn a blind eye to the fact that the ultimate buyer would be a now-bankrupt-and-sold media company Delo Revije, at the time owned by Soršak’s close friend Matej Raščan. Soršak already denied any wrongdoing and stressed that he excluded himself from the procedure for exactly that reason, but he also said publicly that he will not be taking over the justice portfolio. Which means that the character assassination succeeded brilliantly.

While we’re on this: it’s kind of funny, how accident-prone DLGV is. First it was Virant’s faux-pas over MP compensation, now this thing with Soršak and just as if that isn’t enough, Janez Šušteršič is apparently poised to take over as finance minister, possibly the worst job there is in any government. Finance ministers tend to get screwed for every financial fuck-up there is, while receiving little praise when things are good. The late Andrej Bajuk learned this the hard way during Janša’s first stint as PM (2004-2008) and Šušteršič would do well to watch his back.

And in case you’re wondering, where the attacks came from, look to the political right. Virant was eating into Janša’s electorate early on in the campaign and had to be cut down. He then insisted his party take over the justice portfolio regardless of the eventual coalition, since both Janša and Janković are or are about to be subjects of criminal investigation. Sure, Janša is standing trial over Patria Affair, while Janković is rumoured to have been indicted for tax fraud and abuse of office (no official word on that yet, though).

So, the need to discipline the new justice minister early on is also plainly visible. Add to that the fact that Virant himself was recently sentenced to a month in prison with a two-year probation period over defamation and you see that very little is left of his and his party’s claims to be the defenders of truth and justice in the next government. Unless they are prepared to commit a honour-bound political suicide, they will most likely just sit there and be pretty.

WWDTD (What Would Danilo Türk Do)?

Therefore, all eyes are on DeSUS of Karl Erjavec, while his eyes are on the position of the President of the Parliament. If the pensioners’ party gives the nod, the parties of the centre-right coalition will – as per constitution – nominate Janez Janša for the post of the Prime Minister in the second round of the nomination process. However, president Danilo Türk is also scheduled to make an announcement regarding his PM nominee, a week after he fumbled it with Marko Voljč.

The Prez, who is up for re-election later this year and already has a challenger from SDS in the form of MEP and former education minister Milan Zver, has two options. He can go full-throttle-head-to-head with Janša and say that he will not be making a nomination (retracting his previous statement, that he definitely will be making a new nomination) and unload a barrage on Janša, including but not limited to the Patria Affair and Archivegate. On the other hand, he can try to take the wind out of Janša’s sails, hijack the entire thing and nominate Janša himself. Since the president’s nomination takes precedence in any vote, this would technically mean that the parliament would support the president. But the question is whether or not anyone would in fact care for such political niceties.

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The Prez Floats Banker As Possible PM Nominee

In what was something of a surprise, president Danilo Türk said in a press conference earlier today that he asked Marko Voljč if he’d take on the nomination for the post of the Prime Minister. Formerly CEO of Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), the largest bank in the country, he was forced to step down in 2003 in the wake of the so called Sigma Affair, when the bank entered a prolonged period of epic fails after implementing a new IT solution called Sigma which wasn’t all that was cracked up to be and wrecked temporary havoc with people’s bank accounts. Voljč moved on to become head of the regional division of the Belgian KBC which bought 34% of NLB in 2002. But today is not Voljč’s first foray into politics.

Marko Voljč in the middle (source: Vijesnik.hr via Delo.si)

Way back in 1992, when it became obvious that the first democratically elected government of Lojze Peterle was more or less in disarray, Marko Voljč (who was until then with the World Bank in Central America) was put forward as a challenger to Peterle in a no-confidence vote but lost by five votes. Eventually Peterle was ousted by Janez Drnovšek and soon thereafter Voljč became CEO of NLB where he stayed until 2003.

Testing waters

The President’s announcement today doesn’t mean that Voljč is nominated. What The Prez did was floated Voljč’s name for the political parties to consider whether the 44-44 stalemate between left- and right-wing parties could be broken. Specifically, this puts the spotlight on DeSUS of Karl Erjavec and DLGV of Gregor Virant. The former is apparently under pressure from party ranks not to join a possible Janša coalition, whereas Virant said more than once that a third person should be put forward, i.e. someone who is neither Janez Janša nor Zoran Janković.

While on the surface the Prez’s suggestion might seem bi-partisan and an attempt to break the political impasse, it could very well backfire. Sure, Virant will have a hard time explaining how or why he wouldn’t support someone from outside the immediate political field, but since his ratings are on the low end of the single-digit territory, his clout is all but gone and he seems to be already in Janša’s pocket. OK, so anything can happen and Virant is more than capable of shooting himself in the knee repeatedly, but reneging first on Janković and then on Janša will only speed up his political demise.

But as things stand, Virant may actually stand a chance of skipping Voljč and living to tell about it. Namely, what President Türk did today was not the most brilliant of political moves. True, the PM need not first be elected to the parliament to take the post, but nominating someone who did not even run, much less got elected while there’s a potential PM nominee on the political right is not exactly kosher. Sure, Janez Janša faces exactly the same problem as Zoran Janković did, in that he can only count on 44 votes and then lure “rats” from the left side of the spectrum across the isle, but if Zoran Janković was extended the privilege of being nominated, the same courtesy should be extended to Janša.

Speak now or forever hold your peace

In round two of the “find the PM” reality show things admittedly get much more serious. This is the final round where an absolute majority is needed and a reasonably stable government can be formed. Should this round give us no PM, however, a third round is possible, where only a relative majority is needed. In pengovsky’s opinion, president Türk should have waited with his “outside of the box” solution until then.

Regardless of the outcome, it would be only fair to let Janša have a crack at forming the coalition. It was also due to his actions that round one failed and leader of the SDS should be allowed to try and pick up the pieces. Namely, if he failed (something that depends heavily on Karl Erjavec and DeSUS), he’d be hard pressed to do anything but forever hold his peace and press the “yes” button during votes. Optimistic, I know, but there you have it. But what the President did was go head to head against Janša, who now only needs keep Virant in check, thus undermining Voljč as a nominee (the banker-man apparently said he’d want bipartisan support) and politically humiliate President Türk, who would thus score his second strike-out.

Zoran Janković said minutes ago that his PS would support Voljč, but that only means 28 votes. Luckily, Türk didn’t officially nominate Voljč, but the damage is done. Shitstorm continues.

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How To Lose Voters And Alienate People

As pengovsky noted yesterday, Gregor Virant is more or less a political corpse, he just doesn’t know it yet. How so, one might ask, if the man is the president of the parliament (nominally the second most senior position in the country) and was the potential king-maker in Zoran Janković‘s PM bid. In short, the man is on top of his game. What could possibly go wrong?

I know it’s a good film. I just couldn’t resist…

In fact, everything that could go wrong, already did. Virant made every error in the book and the fact that he finds himself presiding the parliament is more a result of chance than of a carefully executed plan. Leader of the Gregor Virant Citizens’ List (DLGV) came to the forefront seemingly out of nowhere at the beginning of the election campaign and stole quite a bit of limelight from the eventual winner of the elections Zoran Janković. Previously of Janez Janša‘s SDS Virant went solo, apparently due to mounting discord with Janša, who – as proven time and again – does not tolerate independent-minded individuals within his inner circle for long. In short, he had plenty of political capital to fool around with. And then he went and blew it all (almost) at once.

Item 1: Money. ‘Nuff said.

Item 2: Playing both ends against the middle. You don’t negotiate with both main contenders at once the same time, especially not if they’re political and ideological opposites. This is not the Cold War and you’re not Tito, Naser and Nehru combined.

Item 3: Backstabbing. When you negotiate, you do it in good faith. You don’t piss in your potential partner’s pool, even if it means you end up being president of the parliament.

Item 4: Jumping ship. You better have a good excuse. Saying that the other side wasn’t serious about it when you all but closed the deal is a sorry-ass excuse. Also, saying at first that Janković is “dictating terms rather than negotiating, hence no deal” and then saying that “he’ll agree to just about anything, hence no deal” is just pitiful.

Item 5: Janez Janša. Virant got points for splintering from Janša. By rejoining him only a couple of months later, he’ll be making a lot of his supporters unhappy. Also, by following Janša and applying the same scare tactic on his MPs (instructing them not to pick up ballots for the secret PM vote), he is turning out to be just a bleached copy of his former party boss. And no-one likes unoriginal people.

Item 6: No more kingmaker. By allying himself with Janša, Virant lost his political sex-appeal as kingmaker. This role now yet again belongs to Karl Erjavec (oh, the irony!) just as it did in 2004. As a result, Erjavec is in a much better position to dicatate terms to Janša than Virant.

Item 7: Reality check. If by any chance Virant contemplates playing hard-ball against Janša as well, he’ll end up alienating both centre- and right-wing of his base, not to mention losing whatever friends he has left in the parliament.

Item 8: Public opinion. In a recent poll by Delo newspaper, 25% of voters blamed Virant for the political stalemate. 27% blamed Janez Janša. And that was before he jumped ship on Janković and way before the vote yesterday.

A lot of people were surprised how fast Zares of Gregor Golobič and LDS of Katarina Kresal went down the drain in opinion polls in the previous term. Virant’s DLGV is well poised to achieve a new speed record in that department.

And it would be a shame, really.

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Janković Fails In A Cliffhanger PM Bid

We were in for a cliffhanger. Today the parliament voted on Zoran Janković‘s bid for the post of Prime Minister with the outcome being far from predictable. Janković needed 46 votes but after Gregor Virant’s Citizen List gave him the finger on Monday evening, the winner of December 4 elections only has a 44-vote coalition.

Janković minutes before the fateful vote (photo: RTVSLO)

Janković’s coalition forming attempts got off to a rocky start. PM-presumptive got himself into a cock-fight with outgoing PM Borut Pahor early on, while Gregor Virant accused him of not so much negotiating but rather dictating terms. It all culminated in a clusterfuck at the end of which Gregor Virant saw himself get elected to the post of President of the Parliament, courtesy of an ad-hoc coalition between DLGV, DeSUS,NSi, SLS and SDS. Seemingly having learned his lesson, Jay-Z re-initiated negotiations and was all praised for the “new and much more constructive approach”. And indeed it looked as if the coalition deal will be cut like a butter with hot knife, with PS, SD. DeSUS and DLGV initialling the agreement during the weekend.

Playing both ends against the middle

But the ink on the paper didn’t even dry properly, when Virant was already in a huddle with Janez Janša, Radovan Žerjav and Ljudmila Novak, hammering out their version of a coalition agreement and apparently agreeing to that as well. Virant said that his party’s executive council will take the final decision on Monday evening, when they decided – without a vote against – not to go with Janković. However, careful observers immediately noted that Virant did not explicitly say that he’ll go into cahoots with Janša.

Virant’s chief negotiator Janez Šušteršič gave the flimsiest of excuses for the move for bailing out on a deal with Janković, saying that the PM-hopeful was not serious about it and would agree to just about anything to make the deal. He also said that DLGV and PS did not see eye to eye on some key points. In this he of course contradicted himself, showing that these were more excuses than real reasons. Also, Virant’s epic flip-flop from “he’s dictating terms, thus no deal” to “he’ll agree to anything, thus no deal” did not go unnoticed. It looked as if Virant was playing both ends against the middle and trying to end up on top, just as he did during the vote for the president of the parliament. This would mean Janković got screwed over yet again, this time due to no fault of his own (unlike the first time around).

Digging a new political low

As a result, Janković was left two votes short of an absolute majority, but claimed all along to have secured enough votes. This prompted a frantic search for supposed rats on the right side, with a couple of possibles coming from Virant’s own party. The political right went into emergency mode and announced that they will not even be collecting the ballots, much less casting their votes. With this they hoped to smoke out any possible converts (and en passant dug a new low in Slovene political culture). For a while it looked as if the two minority MPs might chip in their two votes, but they went on the record saying they stand by their previous statements that they will not be casting the decisive votes and will support a candidate who will secure 46 votes without them.

In the end, there weren’t any converts. Janković got only 42 votes, four short of the necessary absolute majority and two less than his coalition could nominally muster, which only adds insult to injury. It remains to be seen whether or not Janković will repeat the bid for PM, but since the right wing parties moved fast and already invited DeSUS and SD to enter coalition negotiations, odds are that Janša will have a go. But just as Janković could count on only 44 votes (give or take), Janša has no more to begin with and needs at least DeSUS to form a majority.

Will Janša step in?

And this is where things get blurry. Namely, it is entirely possible that the two votes Janković fell short of, were that of DeSUS’ very own Karl Erjavec and Franc Jurša. This is pure speculation and conjecture on my part, but word on the street has it that Jurša is somewhat more right-wing oriented than the rest of the pensioners’ gang, while Erjavec was apparently manhandled by the party’s executive council into supporting Janković. And since it was a secret balot, no one can actually say for certain who cast the single no vote and which four MPs abstained. On the other hand, it could still happen that – just as he did Janković – Virant doublecrosses Janša as well. I agree that is not likely to happen, but it is an entertaining to think that DLGV would actually play to come out on top, screwing both Janković and Janša out of their PM bids. Some say that this is the so-called “American plan”, where the US would like to see neither Janković nor Janša at the helm, but rather “the third man”, which Virant often hinted could be his chief-negotiator Janez Šušteršič. Again, not that this is a likely scenario.

What happens next? The president of the republic will re-open consultation with parliamentary groups to see if there is a new or at least a different consensus regarding a candidate for the PM. Türk did not rule out the possibility of re-nominating Janković, but that was before SDS officially invited DeSUS and SD for coalition talks. One thing the president did make clear, however, is that he will be making a nomination. This of course means that he could end up nominating the man who used forged documents, trying to implicate President Türk in the Velikovec Affair. But democracy is a cruel mistress and she has a sick sense of humour. On the other hand, even if Janša gets nominated, the outcome is far from certain. Not only does he not yet have the necessary votes, with him being the one who has to broker a deal, the relationships between potential partners will change rapidly. Erjavec will have to do some master salesmanship within his own party to ally DeSUS in the right wing coalition yet again, while SD membership will most probably mount a bloody revolt if Pahor as much thinks about jumping on that particular bandwagon.

Thus, what we saw today was not a forming of a right wing coalition, but rather an orchestrated attempt to prevent Zoran Janković from becoming prime minister, with little afterthought for consequences. It was, in fact, old boys preventing the new kid on the block from getting where the relative majority of the people wanted him. Theoretically, this can even end in yet another snap elections, but in all likelihood it will not come to that. With the new guy out of the picture, the established political players can now return to their business as usual and stop worrying about competition. This includes Virant, who is a) on the scene for more than a decade and b) is – as of today – a political corpse. He just doesn’t know it yet.

On the other hand, Zoran Janković could very well again run for Ljubljana mayor.

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