President Borut Pahor officially nominated SDS leader Janez Janša as PM candidate yesterday, after the latter secured the support of NSi, DeSUS and vast majority of SMC, thus claiming a majority in the 90-seat parliament. Pengovsky fully expected the efforts to form an alternative coalition to fail with the clock running out on them, but not for the want of trying. It was just that the path to forming a stable coalition had been so narrow both mathematically and politically, that it just didn’t seem worth it.
However, it turned out that there was enough incentive on all sides to turn enough blind eyes to just about every paradox plaguing this particular political gangbang that a deal was struck just as the first (and crucial) constitutional deadline was about to expire, following the surprise resignation of PM Marjan Šarec.
To say that today’s resignation of prime minister Marjan Šarec and his call to early election took everyone by surprise would be a gross understatement. It is, in fact, more akin to yelling “fire!” in a crowded theatre, lobbing a canister of mace in the crowd and letting an alligator loose.
Šarec clearly demonstrated that he gives a grand total of zero fucks about how all of this plays out. Such lack of political self-preservation instinct is a rarity in Muddy Hollows nowadays. That said, however, one must consider the immortal words of Francis Underwood: If you don’t like the way the table is set, turn over the table.
Under usual circumstances, Levica bailing out on the supply & support agreement with the Šarec government (or the other way around, depending on whom you ask) would be big news. But seeing as the circumstances are anything but usual, the splash Luka Mesec and his democratic socialists hoped for was anything but spectacular.
This was just the latest of missteps, unforced errors and ham-fisted efforts at controlling the narrative that has marked the past few weeks in Muddy Hollows and pengovsky hopes to make a short series of posts on them. Let’s start with the latest one.
One of the peculiarties of the Slovenian parliamentary system are the separate votes on the prime minister and on their cabinet. Which means that once he was appointed PM, Marjan Šarec was only half-done. But as posturing slowly gave way to reality he and his coalition partners were able to agree on a division of labour which broadly goes along the lines of leaders of junior coalition partners getting all the high-profile jobs, LMŠ getting the PM spot and all the crappy jobs with the remaining cabinet members having merely to show up on time and not to screw up too much.
The one thing that separates this government from the previous twelve is the fact that Šarec will have two former PMs in his cabinet. Alenka Bratušek and Miro Cerar have both dealt with their own respective large-scale crises and will be able to provide Šarec with some first-hand advice on handling the situation if things suddenly go tits up. Provided, of course, the new PM will want to listen in the first place. Because he already demonstrated that he can have a bit of a fuck you attitude. But we’ll get there. So, apart from Šarec, who’s who in the new pecking order?
With the last of the committee hearings slowly drawing to a close, the newly-minted Slovenian PM Marjan Šarec will submit his entire cabinet for parliamentary approval later this week and presumably get his government up and running. Thus a protracted three-month episode which culminated in a five-member coalition and a minority government, supported by the left-most party in the parliament, will finally come to an end. But, in the words of the worst British finance minister of the 20th century, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of an end. But it is, perhaps, an end of a beginning.
Marjan Šarec impersonating a PM (left) and being one. (source and source)
While this blog was mum due to vacay, pengovsky did a few media appearances on the coalition clusterfuck. Financial Times, The Europeans podcast and The Economist were among the victims (although, to the latter’s credit, apparently my bit got edited out). N1, a Croatian private news network, even had their viewers endure a 15-minute interview where yours truly bumbles along in Croatian. The gist of all this attention was two-fold: how come Janez Janša didn’t get to be PM and how come Šarec did?