What Mladina & Demokracija Are Saying This Week: EU Elections & A New Liberal Think-Tank

By , 18 Jan 2019, 15:53 PM Politics
What Mladina & Demokracija Are Saying This Week: EU Elections & A New Liberal Think-Tank Covers from the weeklies' Facebook pages

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Mladina: Post-election alliances must be clear before EU vote

STA, 18 January 2019 - The left-wing weekly Mladina says in its editorial on Friday that political groups in the European Parliament should make it clear before the May elections whether they will form an alliance with the European People's Party (EPP), considering that the group includes Hungarian right-wing radical Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Ahead of the elections, it is often heard that Europe is in serious danger of far-right populist parties getting so much power that they would influence the formation of the European Commission, Mladina editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says.

He is critical that these warnings are voiced by the very same people who already tolerate the likes of Orban and Slovenian Democrat (SDS) leader Janez Janša in their ranks. They are calling for a coalition against populist parties, many of which are already members of the EPP.

Is it even possible to take seriously conservative parties that criticise “orbanisation: and fascism on a declarative level but tolerate the problematic parties, Repovž wonders.

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"The argument used by conservative politicians dedicated to democratic and Christian values is simple: it allows them to somewhat control these parties... This is a terrifying and unconvincing argument that leads to the legitimisation of radical positions."

But the problem has wider implications. "Let us assume that populist right-wing parties outside the EPP reach more than 30% in the European Parliament in May. For the first time in history, all big political groups in the parliament will have to join forces and form a grand coalition."

But so far none of the large groups has demanded of the EPP to clean out its ranks. "Of course, this is hard. But this does not make it any less necessary," the paper says under the headline With Orban against other Orbans?

Demokracija: New think-tank not to be trusted

STA, 17 January 2019 – The right-wing weekly Demokracija expresses doubt in Thursday's commentary about the Cathedral of Freedom, a think-tank whose stated goal is to promote the establishment of a liberal party. The paper says the true intentions as well as its potential are questionable.

One of the initiators criticised the "rhetoric of patriotism and independence euphoria" on the right. This targeted primarily the Democrats (SDS), the implication being that it should be food for thought for the party's leader, the paper, co-owned by the SDS, says in Cathedral of Freedom and Seven Myths.

"I'm probably not the only one to interpret this as (yet another) appeal to Janez Janša to gradually withdraw so a generational change may take place," the paper's editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says.

"Something similar happened before last year's general election, when the noble right presented itself as an alternative to the allegedly radical and contaminated parties and individuals on the right... We know what happened at the election."

The commentator says that the proponents appear to realise that in order to change things they will have to form a liberal political party, but this looks like wishful thinking considering the fate of such initiatives in the past and the initiators' stated intention not to do the legwork required to actually establish a proper party.

The paper also expects the initiators to take a clear stance on several key issues, including how they understand freedom of speech, the coalition's attacks on opposition media, media legislation and multiculturalism.

"But more than anything, they will have to state what freedom means to them. Is it the absence of incarceration or of any kind of coercion? Is it the right to act, speak and think any way you want, without others, including those in power, imposing restrictions? The public will demand clear answers. Absent such answers this will be yet another dud."

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