PM Bratušek Down A Minister. Just Not The One SDS Was Aiming For.

Late last night, after a 15+ hours of debate, the parliament voted to reject the bid to oust finance minister Uroš Čufer. The motion was filed by SDS of Janez Janša and the two basic charges against Čufer were that he backed the Bank of Slovenia plan for a “controlled liquidation” of Probanka and Factor banka, two small sort-of-investment banks which were mainly vehicles for financing ventures of their owners (although Probanka had a small contingent of “ordinary” customers) as well as the fact that he dismissed Andrej Šircelj, an SDS MP, from the board of the yet-to-become-operational Bad Assets Management Company, a.k.a. bad bank.

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Two ministers: one in resignation, the other one not so much. (photo: Aleš Černivec/Delo)

Now, the move-to-oust, or “interpelation” as it is known around here was filed some time ago and it went without saying that the SDS, which was alone in this venture with NSi and SLS watching carefully which way the wind blows, threw at Čufer everything they could get their hands on. Which mostly meant lecturing him at how he should run state finances.

Which is all fine and well, after all this is a democracy of sorts with a relatively well-thought-out system of checks and balances. The same goes for the interpelation instrument. However, what we witnessed yesterday was not so much a case of oppositional oversight as it was a degenerated filibuster where the goal was not to prevent a measure being passed but to drag the proceedings for as long as possible, hoping that somewhere along the way the coalition would drop the ball and fail to produce a majority vote. In fact, this was nothing short of a shit in political tactics. Namely, about a week ago we’ve seen practically the same approach when the parliament debated the 2014 and 2015 budgets. In a multi-day session which culminated in a Thursday all-nighter, the final vote was cast on Friday at 6 in the morning.

The good old days of touch and go

Now, all-night-sessions are not unknown in this part of the world. When shit was hitting the fan while Yugoslavia was disintegrating and the whole Slovenia situation was touch-and-go we used to see them regularly. In fact, one could argue that all-night sessions of the parliament or another high-ranking body were the hallmark of the era. And it seems as if the opposition is trying to bring back the aura of emergency and instability.

Not that there was any lack of urgency to begin with and until the budget was passed, the Bratušek administration sure as hell couldn’t be filed under “stable”. But ever since Janez Janša was toppled he was looking for ways to undermine the current government in any way possible. True, the ruling coalition is perfectly capable to undermine itself (as we’ve seen time and again in the past months) but it would appear there’s some movement in the right direction.

One could argue that Bratušek and Čufer achieved with this budget what Janša and Šušteršič couldn’t. Namely, get at least half a nod from the EU and effectively take threat of the Troika descending off the table at least temporarily. And as demonstrated in the previous post, for Janša the equation is simple: no Troika, no return to power any-time soon. And a derailed budget or a toppled finance minister are not to high a price to pay, apparently. Not to mention inevitable relegation of Slovenia to protectorate status in case the Troika materializes.

Again: Slovenia is not out of the woods yet (not even close) but a hint was given we’re on the right path. And that is not good news for Janša.

It’s about management, stupid

But as someone recently told pengovsky, this country doesn’t have as much of a financial problem as it does have a leadership management problem. Both in government and in business. Which is one of the reasons we find ourselves in the shit we’re in. Case in point being minister of economy and technology Stanko Stepišnik, who was forced to resign yesterday evening over a repeated issue of his tools-manufacturing company Emo Orodjarna applying for and being awarded government grants while he was in office.

Now, there’s a caveat to this: until recently, there was a strict prohibition of companies (co-)owned by public officials applying for tenders with the institutions their owners worked for. I.e.: a company a minister or a member of his family owned (at least partly) could not apply for a grant within his ministry’s purview. Some years ago there was even a complete prohibition for such companies doing any business with any government institution, but that was struck down as unconstitutional. But even this watered-down prohibitive clause was too much for some and was reduced even further by the last Janša administration (albeit at the behest of the SLS) and now stipulates only that people with a conflict of interest should remove themselves from the decision-making process.

And when it transpired that Stepišnik’s company did in fact apply for a government grant at Stepišnik’s ministry, it was all perfectly legal, since Stepišnik did in fact remove himself from the decision-making process. And yet, it failed to dawn on him that simply is not the way things should be done. It took further revelations of his company applying for additional tenders and – this clinched it – apparently falsely stating there are no possible conflicts of interest in one of the tenders for Stanko Stepišnik to finally realise he is in an unsustainable position.

However, since Stepišnik was an MP for Positive Slovenia before assuming ministerial duties, he is bound to return to take his parliamentary seat, making the situation no less more agreeable. Now, arguably, Stepišnik’s resignation is a good omen as it is the second minister in Bratušek administration to resign over a similar conflict of interest (Igor Maher having done so after only 12 days in office) and it shows this government does have a sense of appropriateness. Also, Stepišnik was widely tipped to be let go once PM Bratušek wins the vote of confidence, so there’s no real harm (political or otherwise) in him being replaced.

The necessary vote of confidence

But it does show that – despite the fact some people were mocking Bratušek for tying it to passing of the budget – the recent confidence vote was much more crucial than most people thought. It finally gave her the leg to stand on politically and rallied the coalition around her, at least temporarily. And it appears finance minister Čufer is one of the cornerstones of her political credibility. Which is why she took the somewhat unusual step of the PM addressing the parliament and defend her minister during an interpelation.

This, of course, did not go unnoticed and you can be sure Čufer will find himself the target of much more elaborate attacks and insinuation than just a case of a disgruntled opposition MP who – due to a legal provision, mind you – lost his 6k EUR monthly paycheck in the bad bank which came on top of his 4k monthly MP salary.

 

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Patria Verdict: The Immediate Aftermath

Y’all probably know by now that Janez Janša was found guilty in the Patria Affair and sentenced to two years in prison and a EUR 37,000 fine. Similar sentences (22 months in prison and 37k€ fine) were passed on Brigadier General Tone Krkovič (Ret.) and Ivan Čnkovič, owner of company Rotis, while Jože Zagožen, accused to have done the legwork in the affair, and Walter Wolf, international lobbyist, businessman of Formula 1 fame and an overall shady character, will be sentenced separately. This, of course, is the bombshell of Slovenian politics and deserves to have some light shed upon. Also, it is a good enough excuse for pengovsky to re-enter the blogging orbit after an unintentionally long break.

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Janez Janša leaving the courthouse and meeting his supporters (source: Gorenjski glas)

Firs thing’s first: the verdict against Janša et al. is not final as the defendants will most likely file an appeal. Therefore, they should still be considered innocent until proven guilty. Also, given that conspiracy theories are his soft spot, it should come as no surprise that Janša declared the court’s decision was a part of a wide-ranging communist conspiracy (which, if one is to follow his logic, expands to Austria and Finland and in fact goes back in time all the way to 1945. You see, they were out to get him before he was born). However, there is more to the events of last Wednesday than meets the eye.

Then there is the mobilisation potential of the verdict. Rather, the lack thereof. Granted, the Party shot to the top spot in the polls, catching up with Igor Lukšič‘s SocDems. Also, there was a relatively strong showing of support for Janša within party ranks as both senior and not-so-senior party officials rushed to pledge allegiance to Ivan, without as much as blinking an eye.

But what the verdict failed to generate, was any sort of meaningful street protest, despite calls for a mass rally and people reportedly being bussed to Ljubljana from all over the country. In fact only a few hundred people attended the rally in Janša’s support and even they were constantly heckled by a few dozen anti-Janša protesters stationed nearby. In addition, the pro-Janša Twitterati are conspicuously quiet. Conclusion: while the Party closed its ranks and manned the barricades, the non-faithful seem much less impressed.

The problem, therefore, is twofold. On one hand, Janša needs all the support he can get. And – to be honest – few things are conductive for the sense of belonging to a group (or, say, a political party) than a clear and present danger of imminent destruction. After all, Janez Janša is literally the centre of political beliefs of a number of people in this country. And a guilty verdict shatters these beliefs to the very core. Thus it is no wonder a lot of people cried as if Kim Jong Il died. Can’t blame them, really.

But on the other hand, it is precisely those strong held beliefs which present the gravest danger to the man and his party. Because if Janša’s guilty verdict is upheld by any chance and the man actually ends up in the slammer, a leadership crisis will ensue faster than you can say “our beloved leader”.

Janša of course knows this and has been keeping more or less mum for a week now as a result, save an occasional interview. Instead, he has been calling in favours from all over the place. Be it from people who owe him their (political) existence or from people who have lobbied him successfully in the past and are now returning the favour (such as an owner of a large media network who benefited greatly from changes in media legislation under Janša’s first government, to give an example at random). At least, pengovsky hopes that is the case. If not, then people who have a vested interest in Janša remaining a free man are operating of their own accord, meaning the Force is not strong with the Prince of Darkness.

What is clear, however, is that a guilty verdict would have made Janša about as popular in the EU as clap. Janez Janša is no Julia Timošenko and Slovenia is no Ukraine where democrats are labelled as such depending on whom they sell their gas to. There is no way in hell Frau Merkel or David “Super Injunction” Cameron are staging a photo-op with a convict.

But not to get ahead of ourselves: despite the fact that Janša & Co. were found guilty, the judge still has to put the ruling in writing, which reportedly might take up to two months. After all, there are apparently more than 22,000 pages in the case file. It only then can the former prime minister appeal the verdict and the appeals court can take its time deliberating, you can be sure Ivan isn’t going anywhere any time soon. But he just might find it increasingly difficult to direct things according to his wishes.

One thing, however, does strike pengovsky as funny. Upon having been ousted as Prime Minister for the second time, Janša chose not to take his MP seat, he rejected ex-PM benefits and refused being employed by the party, running it in his free time. In fact, his means of income remain a bit of a mystery this time around (officially, he’s writing books and giving lectures). But the point is that – looking back – it appears as if he was wrapping up business. We’ll know soon enough.

P.S.: pengovsky bet Janša and his chums would skate free out of this one with only Zagožen risking a suspended sentence, so from my point of view this is an intriguing and somewhat unexpected turn of events. And, again, the ruling can still be overturned.

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Greek Elections: A Europe-wide Non-Event

A couple of random thoughts on the non-event that was the Greek elections last Sunday:


(source via TBIJ)

For all the brouhahaha about Syriza, it turned out that the more things change the more they stay the same. Even in Greece. Sure, the rag-tag coalition of left-wing parties was branded as radical, but it was anything but. As the question du jour was the bailout (which, again, is anything but), the foreign media divided the parties as either pro- or anti-bailout, which most of them translated as “in favour” or “against” the euro and the EU in general. But take a look at this BBC Q&A on Greek elections (scroll all the way to the bottom) to see where the various parties really stand (or, possibly, stood).

Indeed, most of the Europe, nay, the world! held its breath. Some in horror, others (pengovsky included) in anticipation. Had Syriza won, we would have – after five years – seen an end to the “there’s no other way” logic of handling the crisis. Sure, it is quite possible that Syriza would have failed. Indeed, one would not trade places with any European politician in power for all the farms in Cuba. But instead of a coalition whose plan was possibly doomed to failure, Greece is now stuck with a government whose plan does not work as it is. That much we know.

Bailouts EU style don’t work. Or rather, they do, if you’re a German (or any other non-Greek) bank, trying to stay afloat. Out of huge billions of euros sent to Greece in tranches, each of them being subject to “just one more” austerity meausre, most of that goes to service the increasingly bad debts of a country which no one will loan money to, while only a couple of years everyone was positively throwing money at a country known for cooking books.

But those huge billions are not nearly enough, because a) no one knows how deep the hole really is and b) the austerity measures take away what little chance Greece once had to kick-start its economy. Increasing the financial burden imposed on the state and its citizens while cutting public spending and consumption is a text-book vicious circle. It can only end in disaster, much more epic than the one we are in already. Because every new cutting measure is “just one more”. Every billion granted “is just one more”. And every pledge to appease the mythic “forces of market” is “just one more”. Indeed, what fans this fire of euro-crisis is the chronic inability of the few players that have the means to change the direction we’re headed in, to come up with a series of moves bold enough to change the course. Rather than sail into the uncharted waters, European leaders choose to remain in waters infested with economic and financial minefields, even knowing where the mines are, but refusing to change course, because “sooner or later, we’ll be out of this mess”. Well, the sad truth is that by continuing as we do now, the only way out of this minefield is – sinking of the ship.

I’m sure Syriza didn’t have a magic wand to make everything just go away. But they were the guys who looked around and said “why don’t we go that way?”. For that they were branded anti-European, radical leftists, relics of a spend-it-there’s-always-more mentality. Even though everyone else was spending money fast and furious for the last thirty years, even though the (proper) Greek Communist party branded Syriza as agents of capitalism and even though Alexis Tsipras said time and again that he wants Greece to keep the euro, while everyone else is planning to force the country out of the common currency, which would probably mean its exit out of the EU as well.

For about a month, there was a glimmer of hope that a sovereign nation, even though it is on the brink of becoming a European (let’s not use the word German) protectorate, could rise against its self-imposed (financial) masters and try to do it as it sees fit. That hope is gone now, as they voted in a coalition which is nothing more than a PR service for the Bundekanzleramt and is faithfully executing a set of tasks set for them by Berlin Brussels. Which, come to think of it, it not all that different from when Greece was adopting the euro. And if they cheated then, who says they’re not cheating now?

With Greece back in the austerity camp (until it is finally cured by bleeding to death), we’re exactly where we were a month ago and the only hope for this slow-moving train wreck that this the eurozone crisis (via Nouriel Roubini) is the newly minted French president Hollande with his pro-growth stand. But seriously, when was the last time Europe could count on the French to do something about anything?

 

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Meanwhile, In Greece…

While Slovenia is gearing up for the official launch of the election campaign this Friday, shit is brewing in Greece. OK, that’s hardly news, but pengovsky was all like 😯 when he saw tweets about the Greek Army General Staff being axed overnight by the government of George Papandreou.


Not a pretty picture (source)

A classic of the 20th century, replacing the top brass of a country’s army translated into “deep shit”. When JFK was being cornered into Bay of Pigs part deux during the Cuban missile crisis, he apparently at one point mulled replacing the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff, but then chose not to do it, because it would mean that a) he doesn’t control the army or, worse, b) there was an attempted coup. Either way, a message he didn’t want to send to the Soviet Union.

Years ago, Croatian president Stipe Mesić by ways of presidential decree retired several top generals of the Croatian army in one big swoop. It soon emerged that the generals involved were openly opposing the president (their commander in chief) and took it upon themselves to “protect the truth of the Homeland War [the 1992-95 war in Croatia]”.

And of course, there’s Turkey, where every so often in the 20th century the Army, seeing itself as the protector of the secular (and semi-autocratic) state, would take the power, ostensibly to keep down the islamists. It was only last year that the government held 40 generals over rumours of an attempted coup.

Turkey and Croatia (both aspiring to become EU members) aside, it should be noted that Greece, Spain and Portugal were, until couple of decades ago, full-fledged military dicatorships and their entry into the EU was one of the ways to keep the then-fledling democracies – well – democratic. One can hardly imagine a general sitting in Brussels, confabulating with the likes of the British Prime Minister, Italian Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri or the German Bundeskanzler… Oh, wait… shit

Anyways, we’re not there yet. But axing top military brass in the middle of what is without a doubt the deepest political, economic and social crisis Europe is facing since the 1930s is bad juju. The way pengovsky sees it, there are three options:

1) G-Pap had credible info that shit was brewing within the military and a coup was barely prevented (there’s circumstantial evidence to support the theory)

2) The Prime Minister, who is barely holding on to power, will do anything to prevent elections which would undoubtedly remove him from power, including declare martial law (there’s circumstantial evidence to support that theory as well)

3) This is nothing more than a scare-tactic, reminding Greeks of the days of being ruled by military junta and hoping they’d rather support yet another austerity plan than let everything fall to pieces and let some trigger-happy moron come to power. There’s circumstantial evidence to support that theory as well.

None of the above is agreeable. Options One and Two are especially scary, because they show that Greece and indeed much of Europe is on the doorstep of re-visiting its not-so-distant and very dark past. Option three is only marginally better, in the sense that we’re not on the brink yet. But no one seems to know how to turn back.

The moment military is in the game one way or another in any European country, general alarms should ring throughout the continent. The thing is, however, most modern-day EU leaders have a hearing problem. Time to stock up on toilet paper and spam, I guess…

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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.

Jay-Z

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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