What Mladina & Reporter Are Saying This Week: Slovenia’s EU Commissioner vs The Next General Election

By , 08 Jun 2019, 12:00 PM Politics
What Mladina & Reporter Are Saying This Week: Slovenia’s EU Commissioner vs The Next General Election From the weeklies' Facebook pages

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The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 07 June 2019

Mladina: Slovenia taking the wrong approach in selection a candidate for EU commissioner

STA, 7 June 2019 - The left-wing weekly Mladina says on Friday that instead of considering how to affect the future of EU politics by selecting a suitable European commissioner candidate, Slovenia is simply discussing who will be its next commissioner and will probably continue underestimating the influence of the post.

The editorial points out that in 2014, the then government made a fool of itself when it nominated Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek to damage her political status and get rid of her by exposing her lack of English language skills and professional knowledge.

The ridicule attempt backfired, with the whole country and not just Bratušek being laughed at by the EU, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says under the headline “Commissioner”.

Slovenia's political influence was weakened and the second attempt did not amend the situation. The decision to nominate a political newbie Violeta Bulc, who was regarded as the then Prime Minister Cerar's confidant, was similarly absurd.

She tried to navigate the EU waters, but lacked basic Brussels-speak skills of the art of subtext. "During her term, Slovenia recorded a great deal of political losses, from the Commission's attitude toward the arbitration dispute to its never-ending demands for the privatisation of state assets, including the NLB bank, Adria Airways, Fotona.

"All those cases show the actions and decisions of the Commission, which will significantly affect the development and the strength of this country in the long term," says the editorial.

Those incidents have also branded Slovenia as another "nation of some kind of characters", Easterners, which does not grasp the significance of the commissioner post. "A commissioner is a powerful politician, diplomat, who runs a certain sector but also acts in their country's interest at the Commission level in a smart and skilful way."

This unspoken aspect is key to the nomination procedures of the other EU countries. The candidates' professional skills certainly raise their political status, but their international experience and diplomatic skills are even more essential, Mladina points out.

"It's high time Slovenia left the club of countries which don't understand the dimensions of this post. Unfortunately, things are not looking good," concludes the editorial, adding that there is a shortage of suitable candidates.

Reporter: What the EU vote could mean for the Slovenia’s next general election

STA, 3 June 2019 - The right-wing magazine Reporter offers an analysis of the EU election results in the latest editorial, finding that the right bloc is no closer to power than it was a year ago and that the conservatives would have to "cut the Gordian knot" unless they want the left to continue in power.

Under the headline Game of Thrones on the Right editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla finds that the EU vote has not significantly changed the balance of power between the left and right, and that the electorate is sill tipped slightly to the left, although a bit less than in the 2018 general election.

He notes that the Democratic Party (SDS), which won the election convincingly on a joint ticket with the People's Party (SLS), mustered roughly as much of the vote as it did five years ago when it ran on its own.

It was mainly the SLS which benefited from the joint ticket, because Franc Bogovič would not have been re-elected MEP if the party stood on its own, while the joint ticket in a way also benefited the SDS, because otherwise its victory would have been less convincing, writes Šurla.

"The SDS is now trying to convince the public that the joint ticket was an investment in the next general election so that it would be easier, if the SLS returned to parliament, to form a right government.

"However, the speculation that this would be made possible by Marjan Podobnik, risen from the dead after twenty years of political abstinence, is, given his political baggage from the 1990s, a bit far fetched."

Šurla goes on to say that the concept of Spring parties is rather passe in 2019; after the failure of the pro-life GOD party last year, this year it was Bernard Brščič's Homeland League (DOM) which flopped, partly due to SDS leader Janez Janša, which Brščič will not easily forget.

"The state of latent tension" also continues between the SDS and New Slovenia (NSi). For the right losing one MEP term Janša blamed NSi leader Matej Tonin, who rejected the accusation as 'fake news', arguing that a joint NSi/SLS ticked would get two MEPs, as much as the SDS independently, so the right would have ended up with the same tally of seats.

Speculating about the next general election in spring 2022, Šurla is doubtful that the Spring parties formula would work this time, when it did not the last, although he expects Janša to give it one more try with the NSi, SLS and possibly DOM.

Šurla notes that the combination lacks a centrist party like the Virant List which helped Janša form his second government in 2012, or a party that would appeal to the half of the electorate who do not turn out.

"The SDS as it is can obviously not address these voters either. In the finale of each election campaign it is only capable of scrapping as much right voters as possible, but the pool of those is limited," writes Šurla.

Considering the left bloc is ruling out forming a coalition with Janša, he can come to power only if a coalition of akin right parties win a majority in parliament.

"This is not impossible but very hard, considering the structure of the Slovenian electorate, to whom the left adapts better by means of new faces. But the Gordian knot on the right will have to be cut at one point or else they will continue to turn in vicious circles, while the left will rule."

All our posts in this series can be found here, while you can keep up-to-date on Slovenia politics here, and find the daily headlines here

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