Eight-and-a-half months passed since Robert Golob got the keys to his new office. And last week, he finally got the government he needs. But whether it is one he deserves, remains to be seen. But with twenty ministers, the Big Bird’s second executive is the most numerous since the days of Lojze Peterle.
This inflation of top-level postings is a byproduct of coalition haggling. Specifically, it was Robert Golob making sure Tanja Fajon and Luka Mesec brought home some serious bacon. This was meant to offset the dismal showing by both leaders’ parties in April election. But Team Golob 2.0 is also a consequence of shifting political priorities.
pengovsky worked really hard to work in the Batman reference at the start of this blogpost, but that is not why this post ist late. The real reason it that sometimes adulting sucks donkeyballs. But so does governing, as PM Golob is increasingly finding out these past few weeks.
Getting the band together
The new composition of his cabinet is what The Big Bird wanted from the get-go. More or less, anyway. But since Janša and SDS fucked him over at the very opening of the new parliament, it took Golob until early last week to finally get the band together. Which goes to show just how effective and important tool parliamentary procedure can be. Especially when the aim is to throw the ruling coalition off guard.
And to be honest, not all is well in the coop.
The most glaringly obvious problem right now is the fact that for all of the eight months of his government, Robert Golob spent the last six weeks without an interior minister.
Still under (re)construction
Replacing Tanja Bobnar is proving harder than in might have looked in December of last year. Sure, minister of public administration Sanja Ajanović Hovnik is manning (womanning?) the post right now and pulling double duty. But this can only go on for so long. Three months, to be exact, meaning Golob had just passed the half-way point and needs to come up with a name, fast.
He signaled that he will do so some time this week. But given that he just underwent what was essentially a massive government reconstruction, and still failed to address the HR issue at the interior ministry suggests that people are not exactly lining up for the job. No bueno.
Apparently, there are three ways this can go down.
Choose your fighter
Golob can re-activate former minister of interior Boštjan Poklukar who held the post during the Šarec administration and is said to be tight with Damir Črnčec. This would obviously reignite speculations that Šarec’s right-hand man and all-round operative orchestrated Bobnar’s downfall. He vehemently denies it, but hey…
Alternatively, minister Ajanović Hovnik could make her moonlighting gig a permanent one. Golob’s most serious charge against Bobar was that she did remove the pro-Janša elements from the security apparatus. Seeing as Ajanović Hovnik is a part of Big Bird’s inner circle, maybe he could trust her to take out the garbage.
lastly, the PM could do the whole merry-go-round once again. He can persuade someone outside the immediate political landscape to take the gig. Upon facing political realities and the fragile egos of senior management, this person would of course resign to protect their professional integrity. Which would reset the time-loop once more.
All three scenarios have drawbacks, with the second being the least problematic. True, Golob would have to nominate two new ministers. Ajanović Hovnik for the new position, and someone new for her old position. But word on the street has it that Branko Lobnikar (the current state-secretary at ministry of interior) would not object to a promotion to minister of public administration. Especially as he already had the No. 2 position in that department many moons ago.
Half of government, renominated
No matter which way PM Golob solves his interior minister problem, the fact remains that eight months into his job he basically had to renominate half of his cabinet. Namely, it is not just that new people came onboard, some existing nameplates changed significantly, too.
Which of course meant that all of them had to go through the parliamentary approval procedure.
Case in point Bojan Kumer, who until last week was minister for infrastructure (including energy), but is now minister for energy and environment. He poached the environment portfolio from Uroš Brežan (whose business card now reads minister for natural resources and spatial planing), while keeping energy from his old gig.
This, apparently, is to signal the government’s commitment to renewable energy sources, especially solar. Much to the consternation of the nuclear camp in Muddy Hollows.
Return of the Alenka
Speaking of signalling, Alenka Bratušek is back. She is taking over her old infrastructure portfolio (minus energy, see above). If anything, this spells vindication for the former PM and former SAB leader.
Pengovsky is old enough to remember how she and Miro Cerar tried to persuade Marjan Šarec to green-light the unification of the three liberal parties in 2019. But Šarec was either to vain or too fucking pig-headed (or both) to approve that. Nine months later he was out of a job and two years after that, he was out of the parliament as well.
Granted, Bratušek followed much the same path. After all, she was a minister in Šarec’s administration. And when his scheming blew up in his face, it took her with him. Like Šarec’s LMŠ, Bratušek’s SAB didn’t make the parliametary cut in April, either. And now, both liberal leaders hold key portfolios in the Golob government, while the liberal bloc is united under a single banner.
One of the former PMs had the right of it, and it wasn’t Šarec.
(Self-)Realisation of Luka Mesec
However, the strongest of signals that this government meant a different sort of business was the ministry for solidary future. The post was initially custom-made for Luka Mesec. In fact, it a bit of a make-or-break thing for the leftmost party. And yet, it didn’t pan out this way.
chairman coordinator fancied himself the first person to successfully bridge the divide between ideology and practice since, well, the last person to think that. And just like the last time around, practice won. Only this time because Mesec realised that minister of labour – thought of as a temporary posting – is, in fact, a damn powerful job.
So much so, in fact, that Mesec at some point Mesec said there will be no ministry for solidary future. Even though the damn thing is now hard-coded into the new government act and the main reason Janša and the Party went to the mattresses over the new law.
Which is how Simon Maljevac got the job. Mesec’s second-in-command at the labor ministry was slated to take over the department while Levica coordinator virtue signals about solidary futute. But now their roles are reversed, as Mesec realised he can affect changes big and small as minister of labour, almost independently of any coalition control. Which, of course, is something Levica was gunning for from the get-go. Ironically, it was also something Janša and SDS thought they were preventing by grinding the new Government Act to a halt.
Karma can really be a bitch.
Adulting sucks donkeyballs
Which is something the prime minsiter is finding out these days, too.
The Big Bird now has the government he wanted. And just in time, too. There are no more votes scheduled where Golob can hand Janša his ass, the honeymoon with the public is truly over, and overdue things like health- and public sector reform are looming.
The PM is now facing the other side of his landslide victory in April. The result was so decisive that there is no way he can disown any shituation going forward. In a way, Robert Golob has only new truly started governing.
Sometimes, adulting sucks donkeyballs.