What Mladina & Reporter Are Saying This Week: Janša & COVID-19 vs Počivalšek’s Poker Face

By , 14 Mar 2020, 12:22 PM Politics
What Mladina & Reporter Are Saying This Week: Janša & COVID-19 vs Počivalšek’s Poker Face From the weeklies' websites

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The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 13 March 2020

Mladina: Hoping for the best with Janša & COVID-19 far-right govt amid major crisis

STA, 13 March 2020 - Mladina says the hearings for ministerial candidates have shown Slovenia is getting a far-right government, the assurances of the coalition's two centrist parties notwithstanding. The left-wing weekly hopes new PM Janez Janša will live up to his reputation as a master of states of emergency, something he failed to do in 2012.

Editor in chief Grega Repovž starts by highlighting statements that Slovenia would try to join the Visegrad Group - "composing countries that pursue backward policies, interfere in the judicial branch, persecute the media and intellectuals and reject minorities" - that new fences will be erected on the Croatian border and that it would make sense to include members of an extremist group into the Slovenian army.

Repovž says that the Modern Centre Parts (SMC) and the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) did not even wince in the face of such announcements by the ministerial candidates of the Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi), confirming the extreme candidates as appropriate and good.

This is happening as the world and Slovenia are facing one of the worst situations imaginable, says Repovž who hopes that these people with questionable views will nonetheless be capable of trusting the public sector in this situation and not use the circumstances to generate additional crises.

This will mostly depend on Janša, who has a reputation of thriving in states of emergency, but the past has shown "that it is in precisely such circumstances that this man creates panic and increases pressure time and time again".

"The last time we witnessed this was during the 2012 financial crisis, when he neglected serious economic polices to instead paint new disaster scenarios on a daily basis and portray the economy - which was struggling, banks included - as bankrupt," Repovž says in Janša Govt in Times of Anxiety.

Arguing it was his inexperienced successor Alenka Bratušek who actually protected Slovenia from the Troika, Repovž says one can really not say Janša performs well in such situations.

"But this does not mean we are not hoping things will be different this time around. After all, lives are at stake, to quote Janša himself."

Repovž goes on to urge the public to remain watchful of the actions of power holders, who often abuse extreme situations for steps that have a long-term impact on society and its prosperity.

This goes for politicians but also for international capital, which definitely sees the crisis as an opportunity to take over troubled companies and sectors. Whatever the government may be, it currently needs to act very prudently.

"That being said, Slovenia is short of experts in all areas and if Janša picks them on the basis of political affiliation, their numbers will be even smaller."

All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Reporter: Počivalšek won over Šarec

STA, 9 March 2020 - The right-wing weekly Reporter says in its commentary on Monday that the Modern Centre Party (SMC) head Zdravko Počivalšek had the best poker face in the game that has just played out in Slovenian politics and will soon see a new government taking over.

It is an art to persuade competitors that one has a good hand of cards when in fact the opposite is true and outgoing Prime Minister Marjan Šarec failed to do this.

He could not persuade Počivalšek that early elections were the best solution. "Počivalšek is the better bluff and even though he as well had a poor hand, he demolished Šarec."

Soon, Janez Janša will become prime minister a third time, but this would not have been possible without Počivalšek.

"Počivalšek is [the government's] main political godfather and he will de everything necessary for this government to remain in for the next two years, until regular election."

The question about what is behind Počivalšek's decision to switch sides, if anything at all, remains unanswered for now. "It is fact that Janša came to power very easily," the paper says, wondering whether this was really the consequence of MPs working to preserve their positions.

"Also because the network of [former President Milan] Kučan, Forum 21, is allegedly in shambles, even though Janša has recently been raging on twitter that this was not the case."

The paper says that Počivalšek may not be any more than a pawn of "the so called deep state". "To allow Janša to take power for a short while so that he will then be more easily defeated in election."

Under the headline Poker Face, the weekly says that estimates about the duration of this government vary greatly, indicating that estimates like these are often far off the mark.

All our posts in this series are here

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