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.
In a development that came as a surprise to a grand total of zero people (save possibly to the man himself), president Pahor announced on Monday that he will not be nominating a candidate for the post of prime minister. With this, the first round of attempts to form a government following the election on 3 June came to an end.
Despite the brouhaha that surrounded the event, nothing spectacular had in fact happened. Other than the fact that The Prez has once again talked himself into a corner out of which there was no clean way out which is why he resorted to fear-mongering and his drama-queen act.
In what came as a bit of a shock late on Tuesday evening, the executive council of the SMC voted unanimously to expel from the party its No.2 man and former Speaker of the parliament Milan Brglez. Official explanation, as lacking as it was, cited “actions contravening decisions of the executive council” (*breaks open a bag of popcorn*).
For his part, Brglez was quick to take to social media and decry the move as stifling of dissent within the party and hinted (or, rather painted in big fat letters) that he was being purged because he opposed SMC going in coalition with Janez Janša’s SDS. The SMC, naturally, didn’t see it that way.
The results were in on Sunday night and… well, it is a clusterfuck. SDS won a relative majority with 25% of the vote and just as many seats in the parliament but party leader Janez Janša will be shitting Lego bricks trying to put together a workable coalition. Far behind SDS in second place is LMŠ of Marjan Šarec with 13 seats. After that, the field gets crowded. Social Democrats (SD) of Dejan Židan and SMC of Miro Cerar have 10 seats each, The Left have nine followed by NSi with seven. DeSUS of Karl Erjavec and SAB of Alenka Bratušek have five each. Rounding off the pack are Zmago Jelinčič’s nationalists (SNS) with four seats. This is the most fractured parliament Muddy Hollows has had in ages, and putting together a coalition will be a nightmare, No wonder there is plenty of talk of a repeat vote in six months’ time.
However, upon closer inspection things get even more interesting. First, the fact that Zmago Jelinčič and his SNS have barely made it above the 4-percent threshold and remain vulnerable to either results of absentee votes or potential legal challenges in individual precincts. More importantly, and possibly with great ramifications for coalition negotiations, neither Alenka Bratušek nor Karl Erjavec were elected to the parliament. Which means both will have a critical interest in joining coalition where they will serve as ministers. Given that they control ten votes between them, this is a distinct possibility.
With only days remaining, the 2018 Slovenian parliamentary election campaign continues to underwhelm both in style and substance. There has been precious little movement in top positions in public opinions polls, but as time is running out nervousness is starting to set in, with subtle policy hints and dog-whistles giving way to veritable bullhorns in crude attempts to pick up an additional vote or two.
Parties are promising everything and the moon to their voters. No commitment is too off-the-rails, no slogan is beyond the pale and no lie too bald-faced to serve the purpose. Sometimes it feels as if everyone involved just went off the rocker a bit. But given that between 20 and 45 percent of the electorate remain undecided (depending on which poll you look at), that is probably to be expected.