Apologies for abusing The Bard, but the upcoming referendum votes do have a tinge of Shakespearean drama to it. Or maybe it is the Shakespearean length of this post. Who knows. To quote Hamlet, fuck it. Going to the polls for the third time in as many weeks, and for the fifth time in eight months, is not a regular occurrence in Muddy Hollows.
And yet, this Sunday might prove to be just as crucial as the April parliamentary election was. For those of you living under a rock for the past few months, Slovenians are about vote in three different referendums on Sunday. There is a vote in the Government Act, on the law on elderly care, and the law on RTVSLO, the public broadcaster. A fucking cornucopia of direct democracy if there ever was one. But there is a catch. Because of course there is.
The one-time PM-hopeful was replaced in the news cycle by the EU parliament debate on media freedom in Slovenia (plus Hungary and Poland), Karl Erjavec quitting DeSUS (again), Zdravko Počivalšek of SMC sending a CYA letter to everyone and Ljudmila Novak of NSi denying that she’s about to launch her own party. And you know what that other British PM had to say about denials.
Matej Tonin has a problem. It is increasingly becoming obvious that the NSi leader and minister of defence views PM Janez Janša first as his boss, and only second as leader of coalition SDS and thus his political equal. The last time an NSi chief saw things this way was during the first Janša government where then-president Andrej Bajuk served as finance minsiter. It did not end well.
Back then the SDS sucked up all the oxygen on the political right in the run-up to the 2008 election. Andrej Bajuk and the NSi didn’t put up a fight and failed to make the parliamentary threshold. It took Ljudmila Novak and a minor miracle for the NSi to regain parliamentary representation four years later. As things stand, she might be forced to step in again.
What pengovsky first predicted about a month and a half ago finally happened on Tuesday: Aleš Hojs resigned as interior minister. Hopefully, the door won’t hit him on his way out. Or even if it did, this scribe couldn’t really give a flying fuck.
With Hojs’ resignation a period of internal affairs portfolio being headed by an abrasive, belligerent and uniquely incompetent politician comes to an early end. But while the move was apparently triggered by a police raid chez minister of economy and SMC leader Zdravko Počivalšek over his role in the PPE procurement snafu, the root causes of Hojs getting canned run deeper.
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.