Ljubljana related

29 Nov 2020, 11:52 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 27 November 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Govt botched crisis due to incompetence, lack of trust in people

STA, 27 November 2020 - The latest editorial by the left-wing weekly paper Mladina says that the government has botched the fight against the epidemic, identifying problems in the issuing of quarantine orders and the 80% instead of full coverage of pay for quarantined workers as the main mistakes.

Looking at infection trends per 100,000 people around the EU in the second wave, the paper says that Slovenia is the only country that has not only failed to reverse the growth but has even seen a deterioration even though major restrictions in different form have been in place for over five weeks and are among the strictest in the bloc.

Mladina says the system for quarantine orders failed in October, "which is why those who were sick and those who had had contact with those who tested positive were not staying home but continued to go to work. Why? If there is no order there is no pay compensation".

"After the start of the epidemic and until 1 October we had 6,104 confirmed infections in Slovenia and during this period the state issued 80,600 quarantine orders. Since 1 October and until this week no fewer than 60,976 infections were confirmed, but the state issued only 11,847 orders for pay compensation.

"Since we know that each infected individual comes into contact with at least one person, it is clear that a significantly larger number of quarantine orders should have been issued. This data shows that people in Slovenia are going to work even though they had contact with an infected person and spread the disease," Mladina says, adding a survey had indeed shown that the majority, over 25%, got infected at work.

The paper claims this is happening because the government's compensation system. "When an individual in Germany of Austria comes into contact with an infected person and needs to isolate they automatically get 100% pay compensation. In Slovenia, such a person is automatically punished, getting only 80% (and the same share is paid back by the state to the employer)."

Mladina argues such measures are pushing workers to continue working despite the circumstance and employers to force them to ignore dangerous contacts.

According to the paper, the government's approach is the result of the way the current decision makers are perceiving people - with disdain. The feel that providing full compensation would result in workers cheating.

"They were saying that they are simultaneously saving the economy and lives but in fact they deepened the crisis by dragging out a hard lockdown while completely losing control over the virus. There are waiting lines in morgues today," Mladina says in the commentary headlined Incompetent and Greedy.

Demokracija: Left  understood Janša's rule of law letter, EU didn’t

STA, 26 November 2020 – Demokracija, the right-wing weekly, writes about reactions to PM Janez Janša's letter to EU leaders in the latest editorial, asserting that the leftist opposition in the country failed to understand what German Chancellor Angela Merkel did as she described the letter as a call for compromise to resolve blockade by Hungary and Poland.

The right-wing weekly finds the left is prone to forgetfulness and double standards, recalling how "the leftist elite" - gathered at Stožice Arena in 2013 to celebrate the "soft coup and Alenka Bratušek's enthroning as the prime minister" - called the EU a "band of thieves" in what was a time that saw a culmination of "the ridiculing of the 'core' member states and the rule of law".

"You would think all of them went to special needs schools (...) It appeared to them again there was water in the pool. There may have been, it is only that German Chancellor Angela Merkel emptied the pool with her statement that Janša's letter is a call to a search for compromise to unblock funds for the post-pandemic recovery".

The paper says that it is clear politics cannot decide on the rule of law by an outvote, noting that in 2014 Janša's mandate was taken away by politics, an abuse later quashed by the Constitutional Court, without anyone being held accountable for that abuse.

The paper also uses the empty poll metaphor to describe the attempts by the centre-left opposition to form an alternative government under the economist Jože P. Damijan, saying they appear to be seeing the water as a mirage in the desert.

Damijan "can in no way explain his maths in enlisting support among MPs", he "appears to have serious problems himself as well as with others otherwise the far left Mladina magazine, which is unconditionally devoted to him, would not have called for prayer".

In conclusion, the piece says that while the right uses common sense, the capacity of candidates of the left is deteriorating, and appears to have reached a new low with Damijan: "You begin to wonder about the intellectual capacity of the deep state's master-chefs (...) wondering where the hell did they find such a substandard fellow".

All our posts in this series are here

19 Nov 2020, 12:41 PM

STA, 17 November 2020 - The Supreme Court has annulled a ruling upholding the dismissal of a damages claim by the now ruling Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) against the state over the Patria defence corruption trial, returning the case to the Maribor Higher Court for a retrial, the news web portal Nova24TV has reported.

The party claimed EUR 886,000 in pecuniary damages because its leader Janez Janša was sentenced to prison ahead of the 2014 general election over a 2006 defence procurement deal. His and co-defendants' convictions were overturned by the Constitutional Court in 2015.

The party argued it sustained irreparable damage through the conviction, alleging that "unlawful conduct" by the judiciary in the Patria case affected the party's results in the general elections in 2011 and 2014 as the events related to the trial coincided with the election campaign and elections. Janša was ordered to report in prison shortly before the snap election in 2014.

The damages suit was dismissed by the Ljubljana District Court in May 2018 on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to prove unlawful conduct by judges in the trial. The judgement was then upheld by the Higher Court in Maribor.

However, in a decision that Nova24TV reports has been unanimous the Supreme Court has granted an appeal on a point of law over the question whether the second-instance court may have breached constitutional provisions on equal protection of rights and right to judicial protection and the contentious civil procedure act due to insufficient explanation of the judgement.

The party's counsel Franci Matoz is convinced the Maribor Higher Court will now be obliged to take their arguments into consideration, according to Nova24TV.

Janša also claims EUR 900,000 in damages himself. The case has recently been moved by the Supreme Court from the district court in Celje to the one in Kranj, after Janša's lawyer initially demanded a transfer from the Ljubljana District Court.

Meanwhile, co-defendants have already reached settlements with the state on their claims for wrongful imprisonment.

18 Nov 2020, 19:04 PM

STA, 18 November 2020 - Junior partners in the government coalition have distanced themselves from a letter Prime Minister Janez Janša addressed to EU leaders concerning the rule of law debate in the bloc.

New Slovenia (NSi) president Matej Tonin, writing on Twitter, said the letter was the opinion of the prime minister since the government "did not decide on its content".

The letter "definitely doesn't benefit Slovenia's interests, it places us among problematic countries, where we've never belonged. This demands a serious debate," Tomaž Gantar, the interim leader of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), said on Twitter.

The Modern Centre Party (SMC) wrote on its official Twitter account that it "rejected" the content of the letter, adding that "for SMC, the rule of law is a basic tenet of the European Union and we support all efforts by EU member states and European institutions to implement this principle in all EU members states and beyond."

The party's position was also endorsed by National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič, an SMC member.

Justice Minister Lilijana Kozlovič, another SMC member, also distanced herself from the letter, emphasizing her ministry was not involved in the writing of the letter nor had the letter been on the government's agenda.

"There is but one rule of law and it must be complied with. I therefore support every effort and mechanism contributing to it," Kozlovič said as quoted by the Justice Ministry.

"Considering that we have been acquainted with the letter only from summaries in the media, we can only emphasize that the rule of law is not an empty word that can be understood and judged sometimes in one way and sometimes in another," she said.

She noted that the rule of law is defined in the judgements of the EU Court and the European Court of Human Rights. "It is a value- and substance-wise wholesome principle that entails clearly defined fundamental democratic principles and postulates such as the principles of legality, transparency, legal security, judiciary independence, division of power and obviously respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms," added the minister.

In a letter to EU leaders leaked on Tuesday evening, Janša wrote that "Slovenia supports respecting the rule of law in all cases [...] unconditionally, and without double standards."

But he argued that "numerous media and some political groups in the European Parliament are openly threatening to use the instrument wrongly called 'the rule of law' in order to discipline individual EU Member States through a majority vote."

The letter came ahead of a virtual meeting of EU leaders dedicated to the EU's response to the epidemic and after Poland and Hungary's blocked the bloc's multi-year budget and recovery facility over the inclusion of rule of law provisions. The letter is seen by foreign media as an endorsement of Poland and Hungary's position.

Janša also claimed that in 2014 Slovenia "witnessed stolen elections effected through a drastic abuse of state institutions - including part of the judiciary", adding that "none of the EU institutions reacted with a single warning at the time".

The SMC, which won the 2014 election, dismissed the claim. "The SMC won the election fairly, based on the will of the people expressed in free and democratic elections."

18 Nov 2020, 12:28 PM

STA, 18 November 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša addressed a letter to EU leaders on Tuesday, calling for a return to the July EU summit agreement on the next financial budget, which is, he said, now undermined by a recent deal between the EU Council and Parliament tying the rule of law to the EU funds eligibility.

In the letter, addressed to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, among others, Janša writes that the rule of law should be respected across the EU, however he also says that "discretionary mechanisms that are not based on independent judgement but on politically motivated criteria cannot be called 'the rule of law'".

He also highlighted that "Slovenia supports respecting the rule of law in all cases [...] unconditionally, and without double standards".

"Today, numerous media and some political groups in the European Parliament are openly threatening to use the instrument wrongly called 'the rule of law' in order to discipline individual EU Member States through a majority vote," the prime minister writes in the letter, also addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is currently at the helm of the EU Council, and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who will take over from Merkel at the start of 2021.

He goes on to say that "those of us who spent part of our lives under a totalitarian regime know that deviation from reality begins when processes or institutions are given a name that reflects the exact opposite of their essence".

In an almost-four-page-long letter Janša argues that in 2014 Slovenia "witnessed stolen elections effected through a drastic abuse of state institutions - including part of the judiciary", adding that "none of the EU institutions reacted with a single warning at the time".

The 2014 elections were won by Miro Cerar, the then leader of what was then his eponymous party, which was later renamed the Modern Centre Party (SMC). Janša's Democrats (SDS) trailed in the second place.

Janša argues in the letter that the European Parliament refused to discuss the matter due to a lack of majority needed to put the issue on the agenda. "At the same time, there was and still is much debate on the state of democracy in Hungary and in Poland.

"Even a procedure under Article 7 of the Treaty was initiated, despite the fact that neither country had any known cases of abuse of the judiciary for political reckoning or a single political prisoner during their EU membership - let alone a case of electoral theft as was the case in Slovenia."

Janša notes that the rule of law or its violations are decided by an independent court and not by a political majority.

He also points out that the Treaty on the European Union "does not allow any discriminatory action against any Member State upon the political request of any other Member State or any EU institution".

Janša says there are many challenges ahead of the EU, warning that "following wrong course, unfortunately, a good future of Europe, whole and free, is slipping out of our hands".

"The sea is already rough enough without the problems we are causing ourselves," he says, listing the strong impact of China, divisions in the US in the wake of the elections, Russia's foreign policy and terror attacks in the EU as major challenges.

"That is why now more than ever we need unity in terms of where we are headed [...] We need EU institutions that will not be involved in Member States' internal political conflicts," he says, adding that we need to realise the foundation of the EU is not money but values, and the latter cannot be forced using money.

"The dilemma before us is very simple. Respecting the July EUCO agreement is a responsible approach for the good future of the EU. Disrespecting it is the opposite."

He thinks the following days will be critical for finalising a fair and balanced deal based on the July agreement.

"Only by swiftly concluding what we set in motion in July will we be able to meet these high expectations and pave the way towards a stronger Europe in the post-pandemic era," he says, adding that additional efforts to get everybody on board would prevent further delays in reaching a solid deal.

On his Facebook profile later, Janša said Slovenia had not submitted or announced a veto at Monday's session of Committee of Permanent Representatives. "We suggested taking extra time before a final decision should be taken in the proposed direction which would inevitably lead to a blockade of EU funds for all in order to seek out a compromise based on the July agreement."

"My letter is an attempt at a call to reason. We share the responsibility for the future of the EU. We have an obligation to think with our own heads too," Janša said.

Citing the EU treaty, he noted that every member state can lawfully and legitimately submit a veto everywhere where joint decisions are taken by consensus.

"Is it so hard to understand that in this case it means at least a delay in post-pandemic recovery? And that on major matters you will never be able to force any sovereign EU country to do something that goes against its interests? And that it is in Slovenia's interest it should not come to the delay or something more serious even?" Janša wrote in his Facebook post in Slovenian.

On Tuesday, Janša rejected in parliament reports that a blockade by Poland and Hungary had occurred in regard to the new EU budget and Covid recovery fund, adding that the situation was not what the media were portraying it to be.

The European Commission would not comment on Janša's letter beyond confirming von der Leyen had received it and would respond to it.

16 Nov 2020, 18:49 PM

STA, 16 November 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša told MPs during questions time on Monday that he would be happy to congratulate whoever is elected US president. The response comes after a series of tweets and retweets by Janša supporting US President Donald Trump's claims of voter fraud.

Answering a question from MP Marjan Šarec about Janša's support for Trump in the light of the latter's underestimation of coronavirus, Janša said that Slovenia nurtured good strategic and partner relations with the US without regard for the administration in charge. "This has been the case in all government's I've led and will remain the case also in the future."

He underlined that the election in the US was not yet over. This happens either when a side concedes or the official results are proclaimed, he said. "Everything before is just politics."

"Some have decided to follow the media wave but I decided the opposite. We'll see who was right. But I guarantee you that this will not affect future relations between Slovenia and the US."

He believes the that relations could even become better because people who had specifically objected steps to establish good relations in the past half a year have now changed their position.

"I hope that you will support unanimously our proposal to the US for placing a US military rotation unit in Slovenia and endorse Slovenia's dedication to meet its obligations in NATO more consistently," Janša also said.

While Janša did not specify, his office said later in the day, answering an STA query about the details, that it does "not comment on the prime minister's words".

It also provided no comment on whether this was perhaps an initiative by Janša's Democrats (SDS).

The STA also asked the foreign and defence ministries whether this was an initiative of Slovenia as a state, but they referred it back to the prime minister's office.

Janša meanwhile tweeted in summer, after the US decided to withdraw its troops from Germany to deploy them in other European countries, that US soldiers would be welcome in Slovenia. At the time the Defence Ministry said there were no talks on the matter under way.

Today Janša also said in parliament that he was very happy with the "pro-American wave" seen recently. "I can hardly imagine that a single tweet can cause such a positive change in the direction of our friendship with the US. I hope this lasts."

He also looked back at the time Slovenia had fought for its independence, saying the US administration at the time had said it would not recognise an independent Slovenia.

"Those who claimed only a few days before Slovenia was attacked that they would never recognise us, recognised us. Some in half a year, others nearly a year later."

Šarec, the former PM, was not satisfied with the answer, noting that he had asked how Janša could be supportive of Trump when the latter had underestimated the severity of the coronavirus. Janša replied that he held no illusions that he could affect actions of the US president.

He also called on the opposition to follow the example of its political predecessors who managed to find unity 30 years ago. Šarec meanwhile demanded that Janša's response be discussed at one of the National Assembly's future sessions.

09 Nov 2020, 16:42 PM

STA, 9 November 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša has drawn criticism over his tweeting in response to the outcome of the US presidential election even from the ranks of his own coalition partners, while the Foreign Ministry and the country's president would not provide a comment.

"The prime minister's tweets are not benefiting Slovenia at the moment," Defence Minister Matej Tonin said for TV Slovenija last night, adding: "Time will show whether they will harm us."

Tonin, the leader of the Christian democratic coalition party New Slovenia (NSi), said he understood the prime minister might be disappointed about the outcome of the US election, but in democracy results should be accepted as they were, and the winner should be congratulated.

Unlike Janša, Tonin, one of the deputy prime ministers, has congratulated Joe Biden on his election victory, as has Slovenia's President Borut Pahor and National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič, among others.

Commenting on Janša's tweets in which he disparaged Biden and favoured Donald Trump as the winner, Zorčič told TV Slovenija: "The communication on Twitter that we've seen - that is rooting for one side, humiliating the other side, blocking advisors - isn't decent or diplomatic and doesn't contribute to the enhancing of relations with the US or any other country."

In endorsing Trump ahead of the election, Janša tweeted that Biden would be "one of the weakest presidents in history" if elected, which earned him a rebuke from Michael Carpenter, Biden's foreign policy advisor. On the morning after the US election day, Janša also tweeted it was "pretty clear that American people have elected Donald Trump".

While he has not congratulated Biden, Janša has since tweeted "The US is our strategic partner. All the @govSlovenia I have led have built close, friendly relations with the US. No matter which party the US president was from. Nothing will change in the future".

Zorčič, a member of the junior coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC), said the SMC understood foreign policy as an activity and an effort to further the interests of the state rather than the promotion of party interests. "I believe we'll need to have a word about that in the coalition."

The Foreign Ministry and the president's office have so far declined to comment on Janša's tweets.

Dnevnik says Janša should be ousted for US election tweets

STA, 9 November 2020 - Dnevnik says in Monday's commentary that PM Janez Janša prematurely declaring Donald Trump as winner and rejecting to acknowledge Joe Bidden as such is shameful and detrimental for Slovenia, all of which is intended only for Janša's political survival in his own country. It adds that the only solution is Janša's ousting.

The newspaper notes that the leaders of 25 EU member states congratulated Biden one our after his win was announced on TV, all but the "original Orban from Budapest and his financial and political dependant from Ljubljana - Janez Janša."

What is more, Janša publicly doubted the "early" congratulations by European politicians and the media, which is "shameful and unlawful international repositioning of Slovenia," it says, adding that Janša's tweeting during the election did not stay unnoticed.

According to Dnevnik, what the prime minister has done could only be remedied in the short run if he soon leaves the post, while in the long run, damage control may require inhumane effort to eventually improve relations with the US.

The paper assumes that the "political suicidal mission", which included declaring Trump as a winner when virtually half of the votes were yet to be counted, exclusively served Janša's political survival in Slovenia.

He did not care that he risked doing irreparable damage to Slovenia while trying to earn Trump's sympathies in advance, counting on rich political concessions in case the incumbent president got re-elected.

"Now when it is clear that he had bet on the wrong 'horse' ... it would make sense for his coalition partners to seriously re-consider continuing the joint political journey on this train of madness."

From the international and foreign policy aspect, it is horrifying for Slovenia that Janša was willing to get into an exchange with the entire foreign policy advisory apparatus of the new US president, with Slovenia's "stock" plummeting in the eyes of the world's largest power.

Dnevnik adds that, in the short-run, the only Solution for Slovenia's position in the EU and globally is that the alternative coalition of left-leaning parties ousted Janša with a constructive vote of no confidence already before the new year.

"What now, mister prime minister? Maybe it is nice to tweet, but one needs to eventually take responsibility for publicly uttered words, especially from such key national (and European) political position. And face all the consequences," concludes the commentary What Now, Mister Prime Minister?

Reporter says Janša's US election stance indecent at least

STA, 9 November 2020 – Reporter, the right-wing weekly, says in its latest commentary that Donald Trump, by not recognising the outcome of the US presidential election, might destabilise the superpower, which is also very bad for Slovenia, whose PM Janez Janša also doubts the legitimacy of the outcome. This is indecent to say the least, the right-leaning weekly adds.

This is the first time in the history of the US that a candidate who is not set to win another term claims that the election has been stolen, says the commentary headlined Story about a Stolen Election.

"This is a dangerous claim, which may even cause bloodshed in what is already overheated and politically and racially divided American society, where a large share of the population is armed."

The tense situation in the US, which is being instigated by Trump, is basis for internal destabilisation of the superpower, and this is very bad for Slovenia, where many people have "unbelievable and irrational aversion towards the US."

Slovenia belongs to the West historically, mentally, culturally and economically, and regardless of who is the US president, Slovenian politics should strive to have good relations with the US, which is the largest trade partner to the EU.

This is why the acts by Slovenian PM Janez Janša, who first declared Trump the winner before the votes were counted, and then doubted the legitimacy of the election outcome, are very detrimental, as "he is only following in Trump's footsteps."

"Such interfering in a democratic process in the largest democracy in the world with more than a 200-year tradition is, to say the least, indecent," Reporter says, adding that the prime minister is making the probable winner almost a persona non grata.

"This is, of course, irrelevant to the US, but may be inconvenient for Slovenia. A friend of mine told me half-jokingly that we will have to buy a lot of American weapons to remedy the damage done," the commentator concludes.

08 Nov 2020, 16:47 PM

STA, 8 November 2020 - The US is a strategic partner of Slovenia, which will continue to build close friendly ties with Washington in the future, PM Janez Janša said in his latest tweet related to the US presidential election on Sunday, a day after Democrat Joe Biden declared victory.

"The US is our strategic partner. All the @govSlovenia I have led have built close, friendly relations with the US. No matter which party the US president was from. Nothing will change in the future," reads the tweet.

Janša has in recent days raised eyebrows at home and abroad for having said it was "pretty clear" incumbent President Donald Trump won, his tweet coming at a time when many votes were yet to be counted and several key states were yet to declare the winner.

Biden is now receiving congratulations from world leaders, including Slovenian President Borut Pahor and several coalition and opposition party leaders, whereas Janša is more reserved.

Janša tweeted yesterday the US election winner had been declared by mainstream media while legal challenges had been filed in all US federal states where the outcome was close, with courts yet to decide on them.

Several media abroad have noted that Janša as Trump's supporter has not congratulated Biden upon election, but instead attacked the media for declaring him the winner.

Politico's European news portal said Slovenian officials were divided on how to respond, pointing to Pahor's congratulations and Janša's questioning the decision of media outlets to call the election for Biden.

It also highlighted a tweet of congratulations to Biden by Janez Lenarčič, the European commissioner from Slovenia, commenting he had tried to correct Janša's pro-Trump stance. Lenarčič wrote that "as a European commissioner from Slovenia, I warmly congratulate Joe Biden on the victory".

In a separate piece, Politico also pointed to Janša saying, in a tweet posted in October, that Biden would be one of the weakest US presidents in history.

It added that since the Janša government will preside over the EU in the second half of 2021, it will have to "switch strategy and cosy up to the new US president".

Press agencies including Austria's APA and France's AFP have also reported on Janša's tweet criticising the declaration of Biden as winner.

08 Nov 2020, 10:42 AM

With the election of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States, Politico looks at the European leaders set to win and lose from the what appears to be a landslide victory for the Democratic candidate and a humiliating defeat for one-term President, all-time loser, Donald Trump, who will leave office in January 2021 to face allegations of fraud and sexual assault, as well as looming personal bankruptcy.

Among the winners it puts Germany’s Angela Merkel, Denmark’s Mette Frederiksen, and France’s Emmanuel Macron, while among the losers, those set back by the solid repudiation of chaos, culture war and open corruption, are said to be the UK’s Boris Johnson, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, and Slovenia’s own Janez Janša.

PM Janša, whose very active Twitter feed is still alive with allegations of fraud and conspiracy in the US elections, as well as dire warnings of fascism coming to America under the guise of liberalism, is noted for his premature and utterly baseless congratulation of Trump on winning a second term, as well as his claim that Biden “would be one of the weakest presidents in history”.

You can read the full report here, while the usual entertaining analysis of the Slovene scene is available from Pengovsky

07 Nov 2020, 12:00 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 5 November 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Janša a "serious problem" for Slovenia and Europe

STA, 6 November 2020 - The latest editorial of the left-leaning weekly Mladina says that the US election tweets by PM Janez Janša have put Slovenia on the international map, but not in the way that Foreign Minister Anže Logar meant when he said Slovenia was returning to the international arena.

"We are finally recognized as a country with a clearly emotionally unstable and politically unreasonable prime minister. From this week we no longer have to explain to anyone in international politics why we have a problem and that our problem is serious. But it is not only us who have a problem: Europe now knows that it has a problem as well," Mladina says on Friday under the headline Black Week.

It says Janša has demonstrated that he knows little about diplomacy or is not really interested in it and that he does not care about Slovenia's international reputation. It speaks of a selfish modus operandi similar to that of US President Donald Trump, driven by populism and the perception of politics primarily as a business opportunity.

"But we need to wonder about something else that is more important at this moment. How can this person occupy himself with the US election in a week where more than 20 people die every day, when the figures are as bad as they can get," says Mladina. "Does he really not have even a bit of empathy? Are we dealing with a sociopath?"

Mladina argues the US will suffer long lasting consequences after a single Trump term. "The same goes for Slovenia: every additional month under Janša is distorting this society further, deforming its values, the real picture."

Seeing hope in the centre-left coalition formed recently under the leadership of economist Jože P. Damijan, Mladina calls for a vote of no-confidence as soon as possible, saying "this is not only about international reputation or about staffing, it is about health and lives".

Demokracija: Opposition’s needless attacks on Janša

STA, 5 November 2020 - The government is not taking any measures that would actually require street protests, and perhaps this is precisely the reason why the left-leaning opposition wants to create a state of emergency in politics, the right-wing weekly Demokracija says in its latest commentary.

The right-leaning weekly says that the opposition would apparently rather let a hundred people more die than help the government of Janez Janša and admit that it is successfully managing the virus from Wuhan.

"The instigation of fear of Janša has revealed a deep, horrifying chasm between reality and what the media project as reality. And in this vortex of egotistic opposition, there comes the leftist foursome with the idea that the government should be taken down."

It could be said that the idea is surrealist if it was not floated by a "revolutionary coalition of the mainstream media and deep state", where candidates supported by the mafia are being presented as saviours", headlined by Jože P. Damijan (JPD).

Demokracija says that Damijan is a man who had walked the path of classical economic liberalism until he realised that being impressed with socialist ideas is much more profitable for him.

It was then that the media started presenting him as a "candidate for prime minister-designate", or as "possible prime minister-designate" who is starting talks with the leftist political parties, with which he is supposed to form a government.

"This is not funny, this is tragic: in the JPD case, the mainstream media behaves as if elections in Slovenia are just around the corner or as if the centre-right government has resigned. But neither of this happened, and JPD is currently nobody.

"He is not even a useful idiot who has warmed up to the idea of being prime minister-designate without realising why he came into the spotlight in the first place. It has turned out that JPD was an idiot even before he became useful," concludes the commentary People Who Were Idiots Before They Became Useful.

All our posts in this series are here

04 Nov 2020, 11:19 AM

Updated: 16:45

STA, 4 November 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša tweeted on Wednesday morning that it was "pretty clear that American people have elected Donald Trump" for another four-year term as US president. The more that there will be "delays and fact denying" from mainstream media, the bigger the final triumph for the president, Janša added.

Janša, who also congratulated the Republican Party "for strong results across the US", had endorsed Trump for a second term on 23 October.

"We respect difficult, tragic personal life of Joe Biden and some of his political achievements years ago. But today, if elected, he would be one of the weakest presidents in history. When a free world desperately needs strong US as never before. Go, win, Donald Trump," wrote Janša in English on Twitter then.

Janša's latest tweet prompted a series of questions from foreign media at the European Commission's midday briefing on Wednesday.

Commission chief spokesperson Eric Mamer would not comment on Janša's tweet, but said: "We will abide by whatever announcement is forthcoming officially by the relevant US authorities, and we think that everybody should do likewise."

Foreign reporters raised Janša's tweet from the aspect of the fight against disinformation and the EU principle that an electoral process is not commented on. They argued it should be said clearly at least it was wrong to do so.

In response Mamer said he did not say it was not wrong, while he reiterated that as a rule an electoral process was not to be commented on, something that should be followed, while Janša's tweet was going in a different direction.

A reaction also came from Croatian President Zoran Milanović in response to a journalist question about Janša's tweet at today's meeting with reporters in Koprivnica.

Referring to Slovenia's spell at the presidency of the Council of the EU next year, Milanović said: "I hope such conduct is not a sign of his conduct at the helm of the EU because this is not done in principle."

He added that it was well known in Croatia which side he favoured himself, but he would wait for the final results before making his assessment of the vote.

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