Antonio Tajani And The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Despite the outrage it caused in Muddy Hollows and beyond, the shitstorm triggered by European Parliament president Antonio Tajani in a speech during a commemorative event close to Slovenian-Italian border, could hardly have come at a better time. At least as far as Slovenian political landscape is concerned.

Antonio Tajani (photo by
Plamen Stoimenov/EU2018BG)

In case you missed it, the veteran politician and co-chair of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia had some choice words for the crowd gathered at Bazovica (Basovizza), a small town on the Italian side of the Slovenia-Italy border, commemorating victims of post-war massacres.

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Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum

Once upon a time in a land far away
lived a monster, who one day woke up
and screamed: Where the fuck am I living!?
(adapted from a jingle by Radio Študent)

Interior minister Gorenak (source, author unknown)

More Google translate, this time a post by the minister of the interior Vinko Gorenak (SDS) who despite last week’s ruling by the European Court on Human Rights continues to deny that the Erased in fact exist, calling them “so called erased” and maintains that most of the 25.000 are just trying to cash in on the situation and that those few who have indeed been wronged should have their rights restored based on case-by-case evaluation. He also says that this restitution would include material compensation. Which is weird, since the position of his party has long been that the Erased are not entitled to any sort of compensation and in 2009 SDS even put forward a constitutional amendment to that effect. I guess he didn’t get the memo.

However, bad grammar aside, he apparently was in the loop when the latest talking points were being distributed. As of a couple of days ago, the line that SDS and (presumably) NSi are taking is that the only problem in town are compensation claims and that the whole thing is to be blamed on the political left wing. Translation: because Gorenak’s predecessor Katarina Kresal went about fixing what (among others) the Slovenian constitutional court told the state to fix long ago, it is now the left wing’s fault that state will have to fork out some money.

Further to that point, Gorenak repeats what his party boss Janez Janša said days ago, namely that despite the finality of the verdict the state doesn’t have enough money to cover its basic needs, let alone compensate “people who were sitting on the fence, while those who might have been wronged should be looked at individually, all the while keeping in mind the state’s financial situation“. Meaning that after everything else is paid for, the victims of the single largest violation of human rights in the history of democratic Slovenia will get what’s left. After having been screened for “traitors, malingerers and speculators”, of course. In other words, minister of the interior, whose portfolio since recently also includes state prosecution, publicly stated he just doesn’t give a fuck about a ruling of the European court of human rights. And nothing happens. Really, where the fuck am I living?!

Obviously, this perverted attitude towards democracy, human rights and the rule of law does not end there. As the state just reduced pension benefits granted mostly to retired WWII war veterans, policemen, judges and so on, and some 25,000 people (funny, how numbers keep repeating) saw their pension reduced by as much as 20% it is probably only a matter of days until some bright soul in the government spins this as if the Erased are to blame. As in: “no wonder we have to reduce pensions as we have to pay huge compensations to people who sympathised with the occupator, and you can thank the left wing and Katarina Kresal for it.

So, let’s get the story straight (again). When the erasure happened (26 February 1992) the government was run by PM Lojze Peterle (Christian Democrats). His government was comprised of every single political party from both sides of the spectrum save the liberal ZSMS which was later renamed in transformed into LDS (and then split into Zares and LDS). And while Igor Bavčar, lately of Istrabenz fame and Janez Janša’s war buddy was indeed the interior minister at the time of the erasure, he was nowhere near being a member of LDS. Back then he was a member of Democratic party, one of two parties created after SDZ (one of the first parties in Slovenia) broke up. No LDS, no Milan Kučan, no Janez Drnovšek and certainly no Katarina Kresal. This is not about whether the left or the right wing is to blame. The Republic of Slovenia is to blame.

When Janez Janša, Vinko Gorenak and the rest of the current administration came to power six months ago swore to “uphold the constitutional order, act according to my conscience and that I shall do all in my power for the good of Slovenia“.

If this the above is how Gorenak et al. perceive constitutional order, the good of this country and if that is what their conscience dictates, then the lunatics have truly taken over the asylum.

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All The Presidential Men

Election season contiunes. President Danilo Turk‘s five year term is close to an end and this autumn will see the eleventh time Slovenes will head to the polls since 2008 parliamentary elections. After Milan Zver MEP for Janez Janša‘s SDS announced his presidential bid, the hunting season was on and with the SDS candidate already declared, all eyes were on the incumbent president and his possible challeger(s) from the left.

Whose chair will it be? (source)

Namely, as things stand now, Zver wouldn’t stand a chance against Danilo Türk in a face-off. In fact, it is quite possible that his role is one of a token candidate, putting up a decent fight but nothing more. Not unlike Mojca Kucler Dolinar who runs for Ljubljana mayor in the Sunday by-election (more on that tomorrow). But what it would be more than just a face-off?


The question du jour of course is what will Borut Pahor do? The ousted PM and still the leader of the Social Democrats passed on the 2007 presidential bid to win the parliamentary elections a year later. But despite his relatively young age (he will turn 50 only next year) he is widely seen – not in the least by himself – as presidential material, of high personal integrity, seeking conseus and loved by little old ladies. Despite being a subject of an epic asswhooping on 4 December elections, Pahor still wields some serious influence on the political left. He is by no means the unchallenged leader of the left wing as the jury is still out on whether Zoran Janković will become anything more than just a nominal leader of the opposition. But the fact is should Pahor enter the presidential race, he could make life difficult for the incumbent president and just about everyone else.

Namely, a three-plus-way race could split the votes in a totally unpredictable way, not unlike in 2007 presidential elections, when Danilo Tűrk, then supported by SD, Zares and DeSUS narrowly beat Mitja Gaspar (an LDS favourite) in the first round, but then went on to win over Lojze Peterle (supported by entire right wint) with a landslide. Since Pahor is much stronger a political persona than Gaspari ever was, he could well pull it off and make it to the second round.

Enter the Türk

The Social Democrats are still embroiled in a messy election aftermath and haven’t even come to pointing fingers and calling names, which means they’ve still got some work to do. Which is why President Danilo Türk jumped the gun and announced his re-election bid last week. He did so not by calling a press conference, but ratehr by posting an on-line video on his website. Which was kind of cool, although the cerebral Türk never is entirely convincing in the role of “The Cool Prez”. What’s next? A Twitter account? 🙂

But be that as it may, the incumbent president wants to win the second (and last) term and is apparently not prepared to give too much ground to his challengers. Sure, like Pahor, Türk has his own set of problems. Zver will probably deliver the Huda Jama and Ertl Medal. The SDS will also probably revive their bogus impeachment charges.

Beating them sensless

On the other hand, Türk will probably beat his opponent sensless with the stick Zver’s very own SDS provided with the Archivegate fiasco and repeat that he was a target of a fabricated smear campaing even during his 2007 election bid. Bottom line? SDS doesn’t really have the means to oust Danilo Türk from office. Unless Borut Pahor helps by entering the race. And he’ll find it much more difficult to do so now that Türk beat him to the punch. What is crucial is that leader of Positive Slovenia Zoran Janković is backing Türk instead of Pahor. Which is not at all surprising, given the fact that Pahor himself hardly moved a finger to show gratitude to Janković for his support in 2008 parliamentary elections and then (supposedly) plotted to derail Janković’s PM bid after the shocking victory of Positive Slovenia in elections on 4 December 2011.

The way things stand now, Pahor would most likely be seen as taking on Türk due to prestige rather than policy differences. Sure, Pahor may appeat to be more conciliatory in nature (especially after a few non-diplomatc outbursts by the usually cerebral Türk), but by splitting the vote too much, he just may give Zver the advantage he needs to build some sort of a momentum. Because even though PM Janez Janša is obviously not seriously entertaining thoughts of holding the presidency via proxy, he will surely sieze the opportunity should one arise.

We’ll know by summer whether Pahor will run on not. He’ll probably do everything he can to run, but the party could stil nix him. Either way, political blood will be spilt. Oh, and Zmago Jelinčič (remember him?) of the Slovene National Party is running as well. 🙂

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