Mr. Prebilič Goes To Brussels (What Happened in the EU Election)

The votes are in and the man smiling all the way to Brussels is Janez Janša. Well, not him personally as he didn’t stand in Sunday’s EU election. But his SDS won four out of nine MEP seats for Slovenia, making the Glorious Leader a clear winner at the ballot box.

The EU election this past Sunday in gave us nine MEPs from Slovenia.
(from top left: Tomc, Zver, Tomašič, Grims, Tonin, Šarec, Joveva, Nemec, Prebilič)

PM Golob’s GS won two seats, retaining his party’s current EP representation. But two is only half of four. And even though the ruling party came within an inch of securing a third seat, which would have likely came at the expense of SDS, it is the end result that counts.

Things were looking much more tense going into the EU election weekend, however. So much so in fact that the SDS was busy laying ground for Trump-like claims of electoral fraud in the final hours of the campaign. And even on Sunday the Glorious Leader was managing expectations, saying that anything beyond their existing two MEPs would be considered a success.

The Big Bird, however, was acting bit cocky on Sunday afternoon, if you’ll excuse the pun. GS people were confidently predicting three EP seats even though such a scenario was at the outer limits of the plausible. At least according to polls. In the end, they fell short by about 6500 or 1 percent of the vote. So close and yet, so fucking far away.

Gender parity gone wrong

And while we’re on things that are far away, we should talk about gender parity. The last Muddy Hollows held an EU election, half of MEPs elected were women. In 2024, only a third are.

Obviously, there is only so much that can be done with rules on setting up candidates list. By law it must have at least 40 percent of candidates of the opposite sex and at least one of those candidates must be placed in the top half of the list.

To their credit, most parties went with a full-zipper approach or at least a close approximation thereof. Not SDS, of course, but they did at least put Romana Tomc as their Spitzenkandidatin, so there’s that.

However, in the EU election voters routinely make heavy use of preferential votes. As a result they literally handpicked the nine-member Slovenian EP delegation. And of the nine MEPs-elect, only one third are women. Ironically, two out of three Slovenian female MEPs were elected on an SDS ticket. The same party which did the barest of minimums to pass the legal muster when it comes to gender parity.

Point being that there continues to be a gaping hole between words and deeds of the moderate/progressive forces in Slovenia when it comes to gender equality and equity.

Of course one could say that the parties did their bit and that the voters chose whomever they liked. And the voters are never wrong, right?

Well, not so fast. Sure, the parties jumped through legal hoops to get their candidate lists approved. But when it comes to candidate quality and/or promoting female candidates, there’s work to be done across the spectrum. Alas, the progressive side is just as bad as the conservatives.

Big fish in a small pond

The other big development was Kočevje mayor Vladimir Prebilič getting his Brussels Breakthough on Vesna ticket. This environmentalist party supported Prebilič in his presidential run in 2022 and he now returned the favour. Or continued the exploit, depending how this whole Mr. Prebilič Goes To Brussels thing turns out.

You see, Prebilič is now a big kahuna in a small party. And sooner or later he will make a move in Brussels that will irk party HQ in Slovenia. Which will inevitably lead to some sort of a leadership tussle.

Speaking of a leadership tussle, this is something Matej Tonin will probably face sooner or later. Probably sooner. NSi leader got himself elected to the European Parliament, once again ousting Ljudmila Novak from a senior party position. Every time she makes room for Hand-Grenade Tonin, he squeezes her out some more.

But this time around he will have to decamp to Brussels and leave NSi HQ unattended for the most part. The only question is whether he will relinquish control of the part voluntarily or whether he will be ousted from party leadership in a late-night coup, just as he did with Ljudmila Novak. Pengovsky would bet on the latter.

The Šarec Paradox

Newly minted MEP Matej Tonin was defence minister in the last Janša administration. His successor, former PM Marjan Šarec serves as defence minister in the Golob administration. And he, too, was elected to the European parliament. Much to his own chagrin.

The irony really is thick on the ground here, since it is just over five years since Šarec, then still a PM, gave the finger to the EP and ignored an invite to address the body with his vision for the EU. Now, he’s forced to decamp to Brussels, will have to make trips to Strasbourg and generally try to disprove the old notion that you can take the man out of Kamnik but you can never take Kamnik out of the man.

But for all his rural bucolic, Šarec is still an order of magnitude more gentile and urban than Branko “Gizmo” Grims. Janez Janša’s far-right attack dog and a guy who would make Nigel Farage wince in disgust is one of the four SDS MEPs and by far the crassest of them all.

Branko Breaches Brussels

Romana Tomc and Milan Zver were re-elected for their second and third term, respectively. Zala Tomašič is a up-and-coming SDS cadre whose dad just happens to run a big part of the Party media empire. Party rank and file were miffed about that as Daddy was reportedly tilting the propaganda scales in favour of his little girl. But you know, it’s not like nepotism is a new thing around here. And, to be honest, compared to Gizmo, Tomašič is an absolute intellectual powerhouse, even though they both address broadly the same extreme-right base.

But Branko Grims? Oh, boy. Only days before the election the dude – who serves as MP in the national parliament! – was happy to sit on a Zoom call with a slew of Neonazis and other extreme-right thugs. Sure, his entire shtick was and is pandering to the far right, but this was a bit too on the nose. I mean, who does he think were these people going to vote for anyway? Luka Mesec? Point is that Gizmo is hanging out with Neonazis, Identitarians and other right-wing extremists because he likes it there.

So seeing Branko breaching Brussels should be a lot of fun. Especially when he finally gets himself a better-fitting suit and a new pair of shoes. Gyms are aplenty in the EU capital so he can work on those ‘ceps. At the same time, pengovsky wouldn’t be surprised, if Gizmo gets caught in a vicinity of a drain-pipe or two.

SD pain and suffering

Which leaves Matjaž Nemec. The senior SD politico will return for a second stint as MEP after having won most votes on the party ticket. His hitherto comrade Milan Brglez will have to find a new job. Which shouldn’t be too much of a problem as he can always return to his academic life as a lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

But the grapevine has it that he may be slated to take over as state secretary at the ministry of justice. Though pengovsky isn’t really sure why Brglez would accept such an assignment. The main task the ministry has right now (other than working out a deal with the judiciary over pay rises) is cleaning up the shit left over by the Litijska Affair. Which would inevitably fall to Brglez.

This in itself is bad enough as the clusterfuck was epic back then. But any proper airing of the laundry will inevitably bring up names the party would probably not like see named. And for Brglez, being the SD guy other SD people will hate for doing it… well, that’s more of a punishment than anything else.

Punishment, of course, is precisely that what the SD received at the ballot box on Sunday. They were the only party to decrease their representation in the new EP term. Which is why new party boss Matjaž Han was eager to shift the blame a bit and tried to spin the result as a coalition-wide defeat. Which, fair. Kind of, anyway.

Janša wants Golob to follow in Macron’s footsteps

Fact of the matter is that Levica once again bombed at the EU election, earning them a grand total of zero MEP seats. This makes it the third time in a row that Levica crashed and burned at the EU ballot box. Maybe they need to figure out what this whole Europe thing really is about before they try again.

After the results came in and Janša breathed a sigh of relief, he immediately called for Golob to “follow in the footsteps or Macron and De Croo and resign”. Which, of course is vintage Janša manipulation.

You see, Emmanuel Macron did not resign but did dissolve the parliament, prompting a snap election. He also sent the entire right wing into a tizzy, which was probably the plan all along.

Alexander De Croo, however, did resign but this does not necessarily mean a snap election. Belgium is now in the middle of finding a new PM and if someone secures a majority, they will form a new government. You know, basic parliamentary democracy.

Not-so-snap elections

Robert Golob obviously will not resign and he laughed Janša and his batshit craziness right off. But even if the Big Bird were to hit his head and quit, the Glorious Leader would most likely not get the snap election he so craves.

First, because there is nothing snappy about elections in Muddy Hollows. Even if everything was expedited to the extreme, the earliest feasible date would probably be the end of September. That’s three months from now.

And second, with Gibanje Svoboda being just six seats shy of an absolute parliamentary majority, there is no fucking chance in hell a new PM is not appointed within days of a hypothetical Golob resignation. Most likely, Golob would once again get the nod himself, possibly with a different coalition.

So, while Janša is right to crow about the EU election result for his party, he really shouldn’t read too much into it.

Toeing the EPP line

In fact, the way SDS delegation to the EP is structured is bound to cause him headaches sooner rather than later. Right now, the Party quartet are vocal about not supporting Ursula von der Leyen for a second stint as European Commission boss. But since SDS is an EPP member, Janša’s four MEPs will be under immense pressure to toe the party line.

Tomc and Zver shouldn’t take too much persuading as they’ve been in Brussels long enough to know how much they can get away with. Gizmo and Tomašič, however, could possibly turn out to be too eager to prove themselves principled. Not to mention that their personal politics put them somewhere one the right edge of ID party group. So, they just might make a point of not voting for VDL even though she will be their group’s nominee.

Brussels springboard

And while we’re on the issue, the remaining five Slovenian MEPs have yet to make their positions known on supporting VDL. But in all fairness, pengovsky expects, Tonin (NSi/EPP), Nemec (SD/S&D), and Joveva and Šarec (GS/Renew) to ultimately vote in favour of Ursula The Great.

Mr. Prebilič, however, is another matter. He will now operate from Brussels. But he has already indicated that he and Vesna have designs to translate his breakthrough at the EU election into a national parliamentary breakthrough.

And while Prebilič would not be the first MEP to use Brussels as a springboard for national politics it should be noted that apart from former SD leaders Borut Pahor and Tanja Fajon, the list of successful political transition from Brussels to Ljubljana consist of precisely zero names.

Should be fun five years.

Published by


Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.