The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 22 January 2021. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here
Mladina: Most interest groups find govt to their liking
STA, 22 January 2021 - The left-wing weekly Mladina says in its latest editorial that political scandals in Slovenia no longer have an epilogue in the form of political consequences. It is naive to expect a smooth path towards bringing down the Janez Janša government as capital and private interest groups thrive under it.
Mladina recalls what was the main reason for the fall of the previous coalition - a bill to abolish top-up health insurance, the first serious attempt in years to cut off an inflow of public funds for insurers.
What followed was like "a bad film about corruption". One by one, senior officials opposed the proposal as well as half of the then coalition parties. "Lobbying action by health insurance companies was (again) successful."
That is why it took so long for the current opposition parties to mend their relations, says Mladina, highlighting the role ties between parties and capital interest groups play in political developments.
Those groups also paved the way for the Janša government. Since it assumed office a number of scandals have revealed that persons or companies close to the government have benefited from public funds.
"We don't claim that such incidents were not part of previous governments. On the contrary, of course they were, however revelations were followed by political consequences. Today politicians don't even care anymore that they have been caught doing such things."
Mladina says that the public has not been desensitised to such conduct with extremely low government ratings and support for coalition parties reflecting that. All this will affect the future course of Slovenian politics since even fewer people with at least basic ethical principles will enter politics due to its bad reputation.
Voter turnout will be affected as well and interest groups will be even stronger. "By the way, just to mention something - last year, insurers charged the same top up insurance premiums for all the months, even though the insured had access to considerably fewer services due to the epidemic than they would in a typical year."
Most of these interest groups find it much easier to find common ground with the current government when it comes to channelling public funds. The ruling Democrats (SDS) is a party that behaves as a company in the political arena, says Mladina, noting that all the interest groups are aware of that.
Regarding the motion of no confidence in the government, the weekly thinks a chance it succeeds is slim, however the editorial, headlined End of Halftime, concludes that only a month ago, the opposition had 39 votes and now it numbers 42.
Demokracija: The Left, freedom and the state
STA, 21 January 2021 - The right-wing magazine Demokracija berates the left in discussing its view of the role of the state in society in the latest editorial, asserting that the same people that would repress freedom under normal circumstances demand absolute freedom in a state of emergency.
The piece headlined Living (Through) Leviathan notes that in the book with the same title Thomas Hobbes argued for a rule by an absolute sovereign with the argument that human nature was bad and weak, while states in the Christian civilisation were limited, following the belief that man is in principle a good and rational being who can take decisions and is personally responsible for them.
"Social experiments turned the situation upside down. The basic premise became that man was in fact bad so he had to have limits set and every individual should be taken as a potential criminal. Under such conditions human nature changed too. People suddenly started giving up to the state care for their health, old age [...]
"The left is the loudest in its demands that the state should take care of everything. Every step the incumbent centre-right government makes back to what is natural is labelled as sabotage of democracy."
As two examples the weekly offers the proposal that people should decide themselves which NGO they want to allocate part of their income tax to, and the freedom of speech and the tech giant's decision to close down social network profiles.
"It is interesting how the left started to invoke private property. The same property they had despised until yesterday. Or movement restrictions at the time of the Chinese virus. All of a sudden, the left demands absolute freedom of movement, every measure of the Janša government is termed as a new stone paving the way to totalitarianism. This from people who forced citizens for decades to be dependent on the state, stole their freedom [...].
"During the time of the Spanish flu, stringent restrictions and the wearing of masks proved the most efficient measures. Even though people were much more free than today (and consequently more responsible) they stuck to the measures.
"Today, the very people who would suppress freedom in normal circumstances, want absolute freedom in a state of emergency. Without assuming responsibility for their harmful conduct, they have been trying to bring down a legitimate government for months and want to put in the executive people who did not even stand in the latest election or failed to make it through the election sieve."
All our posts in this series are here