The Real Slim Shady – Slovenian Elections Edition

Ah well, it’s that time of the year, I guess 😀 After the hugely successful Primary Colours and its follow up, the Top Gun, pengovsky gives you yet another round-up of the political movers and shakers. Most of them you already know, a couple of them are new kids on the block. But at any rate, this should be at least mildly entertaining. Hope you like!

The Real Slim Shady – Slovenian Elections Editions from pengovsky on Vimeo.

Naturally, credits, where credits are due: Original videos are the work of their respective authors and/or entities including SDS, SD, LDS, Zares, and Idea TV. Songs on the other hand you know, but still: Real Slim Shady (Eminem), U Can’t Touch This (MC Hammer), Money (Pink Floyd), Pass the Dutchie (Musical Youth), Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice), Always Look On the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python), I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor), YMCA (Village People), Last Christmas (Wham) and Mah Na Mah Na (The Muppet Show version).

And on Tuesday, back to number crunching 🙂

Slovenia Elections: Up, Up and Away

So, more polls, and a lot of people are probably none too happy about it. Dnevnik published a Ninamedia poll which showed the leading three parties going up, up and away, while the rest of the gang are basically eating their dust, with notable exceptions being SD and DeSUS, both of which are sort of hanging in there.

Poll results over time

But don’t take the champagne out of the fridge just yet. Rather than calling the race which has not yet begun, there are a few points that must be made lest they be lost in the general chatter of the election fever.

Media Exposure

Again, you can see how Zoran Jankovič’s and Gregor Virant‘s polls are all over the place. Leaders of the three leading parties have recently appeared on Pogledi Slovenije, a high-octane TV programme which gets its ratings from the conflict it aims to produce among the participants. And lo-behold! they immediately gain plenty of ground. This supports the notion pengovsky expressed some time ago, namely that especially Janković’s and Virant’s polls are media-exposure-dependant. This might look like a truism (since everyone’s polls are to an extent dependant on the media), but comparing the three top contenders, we can see that Janša and his SDS have a fall-back line at about 18 or 19 percent, which consists of their hardcore voters and the recently launched platform, whereas Jay-Z and Virant have only their media exposure. Take that away and they’re toast. At the very least Janković gets a fair amount of press-time by the virtue of being mayor of the capital, whereas Virant has abso-fucking-lutely no plan B whatsoever.

But saying that the numbers are inflated because of the media hubbub only gets you so far. The number are there and unless the competition does something about it, they will stay there. OK, so media tricks get real old real fast, but both Jay Z and Virant are smart enough to time their media ploys correctly and gain maximum output. Ditto for Janša. Which means that unless someone hijacks the debate and does it soon, things could go on like this until elections and by that time it won’t matter how the top dogs got there.


Apart from the top three parties only SD and DeSUS are hitting above the 4% threshold, with SLS hovering around three percent. But in the longtail, interesting things are happening. SLS, Zares, LDS and TRS are out in the field, operating almost below radar and putting their network to good use. Town-hall meetings, round tables and topical discussions are being held all around the country. As you can see below, the effect is still to be seen, but effort is being made.

Average percentage in polls

A lot of things can happen, but the more time passes, the more things tend to get fixed in the public opinion. So the parties below the threshold will have to be quick on their feet to produce a tangible result. Also, they will have to decide whether they will try to chip off votes from the (currently) big three parties or will they fight their immediate competition (most likely SD and DeSUS) and try to win over their electorate. There are pros and cons to either tactic and both can backfire at any time.

Note: Data is compiled from different polls with different sets of questions and different samples, so it is not directly comparable from a scientific point of view. Data available as .xls file

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Jay-Z And 99 Problems

For the umpteenth time, Slovene media is rife with speculation whether Ljubljana mayor Zoran Janković will enter the electoral race and run against Janez Janša for the position of Prime Minister. More than one media outlet quoted “reliable sources” saying that mayor Janković is being pressed by behind-the-scenes power brokers to go head-to-head against Janša in what is being described as a last-ditch attempt to prevent the victory of SDS and its leader. Those same outlets go on to report that Janković is still considering his move and is having pollsters survey the terrain before making a final call on the issue. The general interpretation is that if Janković were to run for PM, he’d unite the parties of the political left just enough to present a viable alternative to Janša who at this time looks poised to win the elections and that – the argument goes – is the political left’s last, best chance of survival. There’s only one problem – it’s all bollocks.

Zoran Janković thinking long and hard (source: The Firm™)

Well, not the fact that Janković is being coaxed into announcing the PM bid – that is more or less true. What is ultimately flawed is the logic behind it. At the moment, the political left in Slovenia is in tatters, more or less. The general and specific animosity that has built up between leaders on the left as well as between rank-and-file party members of leftist parties all but precludes any sort of meaningful cooperation between them. There’s simply too much bad blood. If Zoran Janković were to enter the race, he’d have to mend the fences on the left first. One of the many cases in point being the Facebook status of SD‘s secretary general (and by extent the party’s top operative) Uroš Jauševec which said “The dice has been cast… Jay-Z [Janković] is entering the race… to destroy the left”. The digital Slovenia of course went ape-shit within minutes and all of a sudden it seemed as if the industrious mayor of Ljubljana did indeed make the call. Only, he didn’t.


Janković is, of course, under media siege these days. Journos are following him around, looking for subtle hints and indirect signs that would point one way or the other. Or, to be more precise, they’re operating under the assumption he will enter the race and are hoping to break the story first. But Janković doesn’t do subtle. He readily admits that he is considering running for PM but that he hasn’t come to a decision yet. Even more, he said time and again that he will let all media outlets know at the same time. Which means a press conference (if he chooses to run) or a statement to the press (if he chooses not to). It’s no use chasing the man around town and trying to pick up hints.

In all honesty, the case for Janković entering the parliamentary election race is flimsy at best. OK, so perhaps Janković is the last, best hope to prevent the end of the world which – as those who urge Janković to run – would ensue if Janez Janša came to power once again. Janša’s economic policies left a lot to be desired when he was in power and those which are described in his party’s draft programme are no better (in a nutshell: lowering taxes, curbing public spending and increasing productivity at the same time. It doesn’t compute). If his track record is anything to go by, Janša in power again means a lot of meddling with the media and generally implementing pre-modern concepts of the Homeland. But does that warrant throwing everything the left has… eeer… left into the battle (and that’s not much to being with)? No.

(Ninety-)Nine problems

Janković’s political position is more than cosy. He enjoys an undisputed majority in the Ljubjana City Council and more often than not does what ever the fuck he pleases. This also enables him to pick his own team, something he would most likely want to do if he were to win national elections. Problem is, there’s no such luxury on the national level. If Jay-Z were to run, however, he’d have a plethora of problems to solve. Maybe not exactly ninety-nine problems that the well-known rapper sang about, but still.

First of all, he’d have to have leaders of the left kiss and make up. With seven weeks and counting till elections, the prospect SD, LDS and Zares playing in concert is minute. Furthermore, he has almost no organisational network on the ground. With elections this close, there is no way Janković can mount an effective operation without the support of left-wing parties which – as shown above – are more or less at each other’s throats.

Two, SD, LDS and Zares actually have to want Janković to enter the race. As things stand now, this is not the case. While positions of LDS and Zares are not entirely known (both parties seem on the fence on the issue, with LDS being in marginally better relations with the industrious mayor), SD is going positively bananas over the prospect of Janković going national. Apart from Jauševec’s Facebook status, there are attempts to implicate Janković’s sons into some shady business dealings and by extension smear Janković himself. It seems a no brainer that the leak came from the parliamentary committee investigating real-estate business in Ljubljana (but mostly targeting mayor Janković). But although this is an SDS-run comittee, chaired by Alenka Jeraj MP, the leak most likely came from the left side. The political right would have probably sat on that info until Janković entered the game for real and slammed him with it then. This brings us to problem number…

Three. It is in Janez Janša’s interest that Janković enter the race. The presumptive PM said as much in a recent interview for the Christian radio Ognjišče. And he’s right. Mayor Janković is a pain in the ass for any government. Being ridiculously popular in Ljubljana, he seems practically invincible and is making virtually every political party in the city look like fools (SD and SDS chief among them). If, however, he were to enter the national arena and lose to Janša (which in this case means scoring an unimpressive result that would put him on a par with or even below every other party), his aura of awesome would be very much shaken, possibly to the point of him losing some cool in Ljubljana as well. Which is why the PM presumptive would love nothing more than to beat the shit out of the biggest political problem he had during his 2004-2008 term.

Four, the polls. Public opinion polls do in fact put Janković on the map, but he is way behind Janez Janša, while his (presumptive) candidate list gets between one and nine precent (yes, it’s a huge margin, but remember, it’s still early in the game). But to have any kind of fighting chance of winning the nomination, Jay-Z and his candidate list would have to be scoring at least in the low 20s. They’re nowhere near that number which means that there’s a shitload of work to be done. And even if all of the above is achieved (uniting the left, establishing the network and closing the gap in the polls), Janković would still only be where Janez Janša and his SDS already are today.

Five. The electoral system is a major factor in the final result of the national elections. Eight voting units, each with eleven voting precincts and a combination of Hare quota and Droop quota can really take it out on a man. Unlike local elections, where (especially in Ljubljana) every party runs with one candidate list and then wins a proportional number of seats in the local council, national elections require a party to submit a different list for every voting unit and have candidates from the list run in different precincts. In fact it is even a bit more complicated than that, but the bottom line is that Zoran Janković can not head every list in every unit. And finally, the distribution of votes is almost as important as the actual result and while generally fair, the system can play a role, especially if there is no clear-cut victor.

Six. While not willing to rule out running for PM, Janković has categorically ruled out serving as Member of Parliament. Now, technically it is not necessary for a PM nominee to be elected as MP first, but this usually is the case, because it is considered as a kind of commitment by a party leader (or a politician in general) to his voters. If he were to run on a ticket, Janković would most likely get elected as MP. But in order to clinch a nomination for Prime Minister, his candidate list would have to win enough seats in the parliament to form a coalition (it is extremely unlikely that he’d win an absolute majority, like he did in Ljubljana elections in 2006 and 2010). Failing that, Janković could become stuck in the parliament, because being elected as MP would mean he’d have to relinquish his mayorship, due to the recently (and finally!) passed law on conflict of interests which prohibits mayors servning as MPs and vice-versa. To circumvent that, Jay-Z could choose not to run for MP and lead his candidate list from the “outside” so to speak, but then the question of commitment would immediately be raised: if he really wants to be the prime minister, why doesn’t he have the balls to face his opponents in an open contest?

Seven. If by some weird coincidence Jay-Z actually beats the odds and wins on 4 December, you can be sure that the furious Janša-led opposition will first cry foul and then work damn hard to blame Janković for just about everything that’s ever been wrong wrong in this country. And trust me, what hasn’t already, will go wrong very soon, because of…

Eight. This country is close to economic collapse. I’m not necessarily talking Greek scenario here, but fact of the matter is that there’s no more money left. The ministry of finance stopped all non-essential spending as early as the end of September, which basically means we’re running on empty. With both the US and the EU entering into the second part of the double-dip recession (via Nouriel Roubini), things don’t look good for the forseeable future. In fact, latest prognoses put recovery as late as 2016. And that’s by those same economists which said that things should be back to normal in late 2009, so you can understand how bad things really are.

Nine. Is it really worth it? With the economic and financial onslaught looming and the prospect of having to pass reform legislation which was once already thwarted, no government is likely to make it to the end of its regular term in the next couple of years. In fact, as the good doctor noted, Janez Janša worked long and hard to derail the reform attempts by the outgoing government and he should be able to reap what he sowed. Angry labour unions, disillusioned supporters, nervous money-men and wailing CEOs should be his to deal with for the next couple of years. Zoran Janković is quick to point out that he is ready to serve his country, but the truth is this country can take a couple of years of Janez Janša as PM. Sure, it will be messy, but the only way out of this mess is if the SDS leader gets a strong serving of what he helped cook in the past four years.

Make the call, dammit!

Janković is on the fence for a couple of weeks now and rumours have it that he will make the call late next week. High time he did, as the deadline for submitting candidate lists is 21 October. How he will decide, however, is still a mystery. Pengovsky believes the above clearly computes into Janković not taking the plunge. Pros are hugely outweighed by the cons. On a rational level, Janković knows most if not all of the above. However, there’s always the possibility of him taking a galactic gamble and having a go at it. If it came to that, however, anything falling short of a full commitment will turn out to be a short-cut to a political disaster of epic proportions.

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Slavoj Žižek vs. Gregor Golobič: 20 Years After

Pengovsky slacked on blogging yet again this week. Not that there’s no shit to report (this is where David Suchet goes: “Au contraire, mon ami!”) but there’ll be plenty of time to do that. However, it is only fair and just that some content be put between meat and tits and as far as opportunities go, you could do worse than Thursday’s debate betwixt the post-lacanian philosopher Slavoj Žižek and leader of Zares Gregor Golobič.

Žižek, Pelko and Golobič (photo by yours truly)

This post is not really a summary of the event. It is, rather, a series of thoughts that pengovsky would have uttered out loud were there a Q&A session. Luckily, however, there wasn’t one which means you, my dear readership, get to bear the full brunt of the storm, the only silver lining being that although moderator Stojan Pelko (until recently No. 2 man at the ministry of Culture) kept the debate going for a good two hours, pengovsky wasn’t taking notes for most of the time so whatever thoughts I may have had on several issues, they are now long gone.


That the debate took place on 14 July is, of course, no coincidence. Žižek noted that revolutions (or any other social and/or political upheaval for that matter) can only be thought in hindsight and that the mother of all revolutions prevailed as late as two hundred years after it had started (in 1989) only to be defeated utterly and completely in the following twenty years. Bizarrely so, this is exactly the amount of time it took the 20th century to go from one revolution (or clusterfuck, depending on your point of view) to another. Doubly so for Slovenia, go Žižek and Golobič.

However, there’s a catch, sayeth yours truly. Until the 1988-1991 period of formation of Slovenia, revolutions tended to follow the out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new approach. But the 1988-1991 revolution (because in hindsight(!) that is exactly what it was) was performed by more or less the same group of people who partook in the 1968-72 social and student unrest in Slovenia. OK, give or take a few, but in general the statement stands. Could it be, that a revolution was “stolen”? Performed by people who had already had their go?

On one hand it is kind of hard to just say that, especially because it ended all-right. But on the other hand (and this connects to the next issue), there is this nagging feeling that 1989 was just a continuation of 1968. And that in fact it was not just a Slovenian version of the “European spring of nations” but rather a culmination of a much longer process which in fact took everyone (including those who would end up on top) slightly by surprise.


Secondly, both Golobič and Žižek were extremely harsh in their critique of capitalism. How can it be that the problems of capitalism are being solved by the very tools which caused the problems in the first place? Indeed, Golobič warned that Europe is being slowly but surely disassembled and if the trend continues, we will be lucky to escape another round of bloodshed this continent had seen way too much in its turbulent history. In this respect Golobič went after the recently published platform of Janez Janša‘s SDS calling it the same old neoliberal nonsense they fed this country during their stint in power. In fact, the platform as it stands now, is anything but neoliberal. It is a handbook of economic alchemy which would on one hand lower taxes, increase public investment and decrease budget deficit, whereas on the other hand aims to introduce (by amending the constitution, no less!) a thoroughly communist concept of ownership being both right and obligation with everyone contributing to the common good according to their ability. Sounds familiar? Thought so…

In short, rather than taking us down the neoliberal road once again (which is what Golobič fears) SDS’ economic platform will – if implemented – destroy what little potential for economic recovery this country has regained in the past couple of years. Thus, Golobič is wrong. We shouldn’t be afraid of neoliberals. It’s amateurs we should fear.

And while we’re on the subject of neoliberals: pengovsky thinks that in this case Golobič somehow chose to ignore the big picture. Yes, solving crisis of capitalism with even more capitalism will inevitably lead to disaster. That this disaster is most likely to take the form of a more or less global conflict (I won’t use the word “world war” but feel free to think it) is almost a given, especially if one looks back at the history of the 20th century. In this respect Golobič is dead right. But criticising capitalism at this point is like kicking a dead horse. The moment for radical changes in world economic order was missed sometime in the second part of 2009. The situation we have today is not the result of capitalism in pre-crisis neoliberal form raising it head, but it is because no sensible alternative was provided. This seems a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, because people who were in position to provide an alternative did not do so because their main impetus was to get back to the “business as usual”, although there is no longer anything usual about any business. But given that the world is so interwoven economically there is probably no way to just drop everything and start afresh. We might come to that. In fact, Golobič is correct when saying that everything that was done to solve the crisis just deepened it further and that bloodshed is almost unavoidable. But asking to – well – cut to the chase and getting it over with is perhaps asking a bit too much.

So, what do we need? Naively, pengovsky proposes a Slovenian “space programme”. Not in the “sending-a-man-to-the-moon-and-returning-him-safely-to-the-earth” kind of way, but a far-reaching programme or initiative that would have positive side-effects which may in the long run prove to be even more crucial than the project itself. One thing that comes to mind is the introduction of universal basic income, which although his party toyed with it at first, Golobič dismissed as a noble but unattainable idea in a recent interview. That may be so (although some serious calculations would be in order), but pengovsky is willing to bet that just by initiating procedures to completely revamp the system of social security, a lot of positive stuff could happen. What is needed here is some outside-of-the-box thinking, just for the argument’s sake if nothing else.

More state, less homeland

Universal basic income is of course an utterly anti-market idea. Neolibs tend to have a fit whenever they see something being state-ordained. That the state would cash out equally to everyone is of course their worst nightmare. That the state rarely becomes leaner after neolibs tinker with it, is something we’ll conveniently neglect. But as we said, while Janša may tinker with neoliberal ideas, Milton Friedman and the faithful would probably scoff at Janša’s economic legacy and die of shame reading his economic plans. However, all the buzzwords are there. The lean state. The tax cuts. The pro-business environment. And the homeland. In fact, Janez Janša summed it all up in a recent reply to the good doctor on Twitter, where he said that homleand is priceless and doesn’t collect taxes. State is a legal framework, homeland is the content. And concludes that Žižek is mixing apples and oranges.

Making a fool of everyone present

What was it Žižek said that upset Janša so much? Well, it was in fact one of his usual rhetorical bravuras which sent everyone into a frenzy. Namely, the pop philosopher said that he fears Janša’s notion of more homeland and that this country needs more state and less homeland. This was predictably followed by a hefty round of applause. Similarly, at the very beginning Žižek countered those who label Golobič smart and corrupt, saying that he always thought of Zares leader as an honest but slightly stupid person (cue laughter). Sure enough, these and other soundbites had the intended effect: headlines were full of them the next day and Žižek was again lauded as the master of wit. However, what most of those present failed to see was that these rhetorical twists were only a manifestation of what Golobič said a bit later on, that the society today has no opinion leader and that on the whole people tend to follow rather than seek new paths. As if he had read the infamous poster which says that “left to themselves, people tend to imitate one another”.

Žižek again showed how easy it is to take control of the masses, no matter if the mass is comprised of people who thing of themselves as critically minded individuals. In his most excellent book Generali brez kape (Generals Without Caps) jouralist Ali Žerdin recounts how Žižek did something similar twenty-odd years ago when Janez Janša (then still an obscure scribe for Mladina magazine) was imprisoned in 1988, sparking popular protests which became focal points for all sorts of grievances Slovenes had against socialism and which started a chain of events which ended with Slovenia declaring independence three years later. Namely, Žižek was speaking at a gathering of the Human Rights Committee and said that the Communist Party was always using catch-phrases like “the time for words is past, now it’s time for action!” and that in his view showed that the Party had a legitimacy problem which it attempted to cover up by its hyperactivity at that time. So, Žižek proposed that the Committee hit the Party where it hurt and stated that “the time for action is past, now it’s time for words!”. Those present erupted in cheers and applause. But then Žižek delivered the final blow: “I must say I’m sort of embarrassed that you feel for a cheap trick like that” he said. Apparently many a face turned red.

Twenty years later we still have the same problem. Too many people fall for too many cheap tricks like that way too soon. And this, in pengovsky’s view is the ultimate lesson of Thursday’s Žižek vs. Golobič. Not whether leader of Zares is a credible person. Not whether capitalism is in it’s dying moments. Not even whether there will be blood. The lesson is that throughout the last twenty years the people of this country still count on someone else to take the hard decision and then criticise them for it from a comfortable distance, all the while falling for the same trick over and over again, learning practically nothing. Increasingly, the feeling is as if we’re stuck in 1991.

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Documents Sexed-Up For Dramatic Puroposes

As luck would have it, pengovsky is way busy co-handling The Offspring™ which sort of explains the blogging no-show of the past few days (still, you got the skin and meat :)) But that does not mean things were quiet this side of the Alps. Oh, no… What we had here in the past ten-or-so days was almost worthy of an Austin Powers adventure. Guess who plays Dr. Evil

Janez Janša and Danilo Türk as Dr. Evil and Austin Powers. Shall we shag now or shag later? (photoshop by yours truly)

Remember Operation North? When twenty years after the deed President Danilo Türk awarded a medal to the last socialist interior minister Tomaž Ertl for preventing a Milošević-induced mass rally in Ljubljana in 1989 aimed at overthrowing the reform Communist leadership and installing a pro-Serb hard-liners at the helm of the country? Slightly more than a year ago giving a medal to Ertl (who was, among other things, head of the state secret police) made Janez Janša‘s SDS go apeshit and move to impeach president Türk on the grounds of supporting human rights violations. Janša’s move failed spectacularly but in the whirlwind of half-truths, accusations and conjectures that were the “impeachment case”, a set of questions stood out like a sore thumb: “What was Türk’s connection to Ertl and what did the President know of Ertl’s involvement in acts of international terrorism”

Shaggadelic, baby, yeah!

Fast forward eleven months and SDS starts making noises about how archives of the Slovene branch of SDV (Yugoslav secret service) still remain inaccessible and how this is most unacceptable, undemocratic and (oy vey!) unlawful. It goes on to say that SOVA, the current Slovene secret service, still prevents access to archives of former SDV and by that prevents parliamentary and public oversight of the intelligence services (the pretext being that Igor Omeza, a man of colourful past and high-profile past was denied access to the archives when supposedly researching a story). This apparently pained Janša so much, that he discussed the issue even in a debate on WikiLeaks, where he – in the presence of the new US Ambassador to Slovenia Joseph A. Mussomeli – made a quick argument against releasing the US State Departament cables but then went on a long tirade on why classified SDV archives must be made public in all their ignomy.

And then, a year almost to the day after Türk awarded Ertl with that infamous medal, SDS spectacularly “discovers” documents which supposedly prove that President Türk had detailed knowledge of the 1979 Velikovec (Völkermarkt) bombing in Austrian Carynthia in which three people were injured and which today is widely accepted to have been orchestrated by Slovene branch of SDV or at the very least cooked up by more rabid elements within the service. SDS claimed this directly linked Türk to acts of international terrorism as well as put him firmly in the circle of communist intelligence services. And what worse than an (albeit indirect) accusation that an incumbent president collaborated with communist secrecy service, by extension making either a spy or a snitch.

Enter Exhibit A

President Türk denied any prior or detailed knowledge of the Velikovec bombing. In what was an unusally strong-worded denial (Slovenian only) he bluntly accused Janša’s SDS of manipulation and deceit. Namely, the core of SDS’ case was a diplomatic cable from Yugoslav embassy in Vienna dated almost ten months after the bombing which was a compilation of official an unofficial Austrian responses as well as clippings from Austrian media in relation to the bombing. Recipients of the document included top Party brass and heads of other relevant institutions and committees, including one Danilo Türk, president of the SZDL committee for issues of minorities and diaspora.

At this point it should be noted that in 1979 Danilo Türk was a 26-year-old freshly minted law school graduate who just returned from serving in the army and landed his first job at SZDL (Socialist Union of Working People). The latter was a sort of all-encompassing umbrella organisation for groups and activities which were not strictly sanctioned by the Party, but were needed to be a part of the system to a) maintain the illusion of plurality and b) for the party to keep tabs on them. SZDL was designed to be the intermediary between the Party and the people and as a result, people working with or for SZDL could get away with a whole lot more than those working for the Party. Just to prove my point: the documents which started the JBTZ affair and ultimately began the final push for Slovenian independce were “acquired” by Igor Bavčar (today of Istrabenz infamy) in 1988 while he was working for that same SZDL.

Enter Exibit B

Anyways. Türk denies it and SDS immediately shoots back saying that not only is the President lying but also that it has in its possession a document which proves that Danilo Türk and SDV chief Tomaž Ertl (the one with the medal) go way back and did not meet face-to-face only last year as Türk had claimed during the impeachment proceedings. To back up their claim, they produced another document, a letter by interior secretary Tomaž Ertl from 1982 in which the latter informs the former that the Interior Secretariat is replacing its member of the Türk’s committee.

SDS of course failed to prove either one of their claims. Rather than proving that Türk was a member of the inner circle of the Party/SDV circles, the first set documents proves only that Türk was “privy” to diplomatic cables on the issue of Velikovec ten months after the attack and that information in that particular cable was stale, to say the least. Even more. The list of recipients of the said cable include not only the top Party officials, but people across the institutional spectrum of the socialist system (the Assembly, the SZDL, various committees) which points to the fact that the cable is a cleaned-up “civilian” version of intelligence collected (if there ever was any). In other words, it’s harmless. Secondly, claiming that Türk and Ertl go back thirty years (and again by conjecture trying to establish a link between the President and the inner circles of the SDV) by means of producing a bureaucratic notification is akin to fans claiming to be buddies with Bono of U2 on account of having his autograph. An exaggeration of biblical proportions, that is.

The plot thickens

However, things got even more interesting. First it transpired that SDV documents were sealed by the government of Janez Janša. It turned out to be a classic. First, Janša’s right-wing coalition passed a law transferring all SDV documents to the state archives and aimed at declassifying them. Only then did a special committee take a look at the archives and apparently discovered that some of them are smoking hot. As a result SOVA (Slovene secret service) reclassified parts of documents and Janša’s government set a new release date for them, forty years from now. So, rather than whining about how this government is unlawfully hiding the archives (and at the same time condemning Wikileaks for releasing some other archives), Janša and his party would be better off keeping their mouth shut.

However, this is obviously too much to ask. Releasing supposedly damaging documents has been Janša’s modus operandi for the past 25 years. Indeed, he was sent to prison by the federal army in 1988 for being in possession of a secret army document and after a glorious period during the war of independence in 1991 things only got worse. In 1994, during an attempted coup d’etat, army intelligence service loyal to Janša tried to plant forged documents and use them as pretext to topple the government. The plan backfired and the whole thing ended with Janša’s dismissal as defence minister. After that he made a career of sifting through old archives and publishing them in volumes on end, each and every time claiming to have shed new light on the role of key players of Slovenian independence. Although the documents were either declassified or have at the very least been in the public domain for a very long time, Janša always interpreted them in a way that extolled his role in achieving the independence and portrayed him as a victim of SDV, at the same time diminishing role of others key players, depending on who was his primary enemy at any given time. This time around this appears to be President Türk, who admittedly has little or no direct involvement in achieving the independence but is apparently enough of a problem for Janša to be discredited at all costs. Even if the released documents are forgeries.

Yes. It turns out that the first set of documents wasn’t actually a single set of documents but rather two different batches, sent to two different lists of addressees at two different dates. Indeed, one set (with more details in it) was not addressed to Türk but rather to his predecessor in the SZDL committee. So, in order to implicate Türk in a spy-ring-scandal, SDS published forgeries. If you want to be really lenient, you can call it a document that was “sexed-up for dramatic purposes”. At any rate, the documents thus became irrelevant, while Janša was once again caught lying.

But… Why?

This fuck-up-uncovered might also explain Türk’s strong reaction to Janša’s initial claims. Rumours were circulating for the past few days that Janša’s people took liberties in interpreting what they found in the archives, but few knew just how liberal-an-interpretation they cooked up. Türk apparently knew and it would seem logical for his office to have made inquiries into what exactly were Janša’s people looking for. So, why would the largest opposition party sex documents up in order to substantiate their claims against the president, when they’ve got so much going for them? I mean, SDS is leading the polls, economy is still going down the drain, most people see Janša as the next PM and all he has to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

Part of it most likely has to do with the fact that Janša will not accept defeat. Danilo Türk’s victory in presidential elections in 2007 was the harbinger of Janša’s electoral defeat a year later. Several of Türk’s moves (not in the least giving a medal to Ertl) were like throwing a gauntlet in Janša’s face. And Türk also stole some much wanted limelight during Slovenian EU presidency, having much more diplomatic clout than Janša and his foreign minister Rupel combined.

Secondly, it has to do with destabilising the country. The largest opposition party seems to have made it its mission to oppose almost every government move and actively try to block and derail any measure which could – even by a long shot – break the current social and economic status quo. This includes calling for referendums virtually on a monthly basis, prolonging the legislative process beyond any acceptable means.

And thirdly, it has to do with creating an atmosphere of distrust, deceit and paralysing fear, where no-one dares do anything for fear of what Janša and his people might dig out on any given person. It is an environment of paranoia Janša thrives in but which is ultimately destructive both to him and the country he wants to lead yet again.

Looks like someone lost their mojo

In short, what was meant to be a sort of political black-ops campaign turned out to be amateur night by people who keep feeding us the same shit over and over again, as if they’re caught in some sort of political Ground-hog day, constantly reliving the same idea over and over, always seeing ghosts and wanting to prove that there is some sort of secret clan of die-hard Communists who run the country, refusing to realise that the entire country is sick and tired of their stale tricks and wants to move forwards. If that is still possible at all.

BTW: As of recent the SDS has a lovely new site in English. It is definitely worth your time every once in a while. The more observant of readers will find in there literary gems by none other than former foreign minister Dimitrij Rupel, but even if that’s not your thing, you can still check the crap pengovsky posts against the sharp and deep analysis of the largest opposition party in Slovenia 😀

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