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
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.
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."
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The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 15 January 2021. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here
Mladina: Slovenia's future in hands of SMC MPs
STA, 15 January 2021 - The left-wing magazine Mladina appears to be appealing to the conscience of the Modern Centre Party's (SMC) MPs ahead of a potential vote of confidence in the government in the latest editorial. The weekly also finds the release of police pay data is an act of revenge and anger.
Under the headline Decision Week, Mladina writes that Interior Minister Aleš Hojs released the names and pay data of Interior Ministry employees in revenge for part of the police going on strike. However, it also says that the data released make it obvious why the minister was so angry.
"The salaries are irregularly high indeed. Police officers are indeed getting highs bonuses from this government - not based on collective bargaining but based on the government's or the minister's arbitrary decision.
"To put it bluntly: the government has been buying their loyalty with bonuses. That is why Hojs was so angry, because it was his firm belief he has the police on his side, that he has got them on his side with all the bonuses given to them by the government."
The paper says it all goes to show how this government is operating, that the solutions are political and follow the logic that those who are on our side will be rewarded, and those who are against will be punished, a pattern that can be found elsewhere, including in the case of the STA.
Ahead of a potential vote of no confidence in the government next week, the weekly says the decision of Slovenia's future is in the hands of SMC MPs.
"When the SMC joined the Janez Janša government, they pledged to act as a corrective to prevent Slovenia from straying from its democratic path. They did not succeed in that, on the contrary, all gloomy premonitions have come true.
"The police force is beheaded, culture mangled, media that those in power could not reach are under continuous pressure, criticism is not allowed [...], public institutions are witnessing ideological purges, the battle against the epidemic has failed [...]," writes Mladina.
Demokracija: Upbringing benefited by remote schooling
Ljubljana, 14 January 2021 - The right-wing magazine Demokracija writes about the historical trend of political correctness or a "new normal" in the latest editorial, asserting that the spread of this "ideological poison" in Slovenia has been hampered due to the centre-right government and the "Chinese virus", offering distance learning as an example.
Under the headline New Normal, the weekly quotes Archbishop of Krakow Marek Jedraszewski in warning against the rainbow plague, born in the same spirit as the Bolshevist and Marxist plague, and against a new normal, the historial trend of political correctness.
However, the magazine says that as the flow of transmission of that "ideological virus" in Slovenia has been hampered, those disseminating the 'new normal' are "nervous knowing well things are getting out of hand".
"Remote schooling is one such example. If you listen to them well you will notice they will mention the impact on the transfer of knowledge of natural sciences from teachers to pupils only in passing, they are concerned the most about peer socialising and upbringing that is now left to the children themselves and their parents [...]
"If in school the children were forced to spend half a day in the company they did not choose themselves they are now socialising with the peers they pick themselves. Those are usually the kids their parents favour too. It means they are no longer being raised into sheep where the wolfs of the 'new normal' decide what they serve for dinner."
As the second example the magazine offers the government, saying the 'new normal' "does not foresee anything conservative in power, hence the protests (including violent protests), the search for a new PM-designate among people who in normal circumstances would not get even close to politics".
The magazine also notes the announcement by Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, that if the vote of no confidence in the government is not successful, they will continue filing ouster motions.
In conclusion, the weekly hopes that post-coronavirus "the 'new normal' painted by political correctness will not continue its devastating march, which it is stepping up now by abolishing free internet platforms and profiles of conservative users".
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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
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.
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".
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The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 13 November 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here
STA, 13 November 2020 – Mladina, the left-wing weekly, says that the puzzle showing Slovenia as a country with one of the largest Covid-19 death tolls per million people is being slowly but surely put together, and calls for criminal liability of the decision-makers in the government who the magazine believes are responsible for the situation.
Under the headline Criminal Liability, the left-leaning weekly says that the government has "consciously failed to establish a system in which those who should stay in isolation are provided with compensation for the loss of income".
A system which would solve this problem was put into the fifth coronavirus legislative package, which entered into force only on 24 October, two weeks ago and two weeks after the government had imposed a lockdown because the epidemic had got out of hand.
The media were warning the government about this already during the first wave, but they were ignored, and "today, the price of this unbelievable ignorance of the actual social situation is being paid by the entire Slovenia".
In the coming weeks, this price will be paid in the most brutal way by residents of care homes, Mladina says, criticising Minister Janez Cigler Kralj, who is in charge of social affairs, for failure to introduce regular and systematic testing of care home staff.
"Why they haven't been tested? This is an utter defeat that no other country is experiencing", and Cigler Kralj has done nothing while being nothing but a "sweet talker".
This also holds true for Education Minister Simona Kustec, as the education system has entered the second Covid-19 wave totally unprepared. Ahead of the new school year, her ministry took ineffective and illogical measures, which could simply not be realised without additional funds and staff.
"People should start thinking about criminal liability of these people, who have failed to do their jobs. They are sitting in the government," concludes the commentary.
STA, 12 November 2020 - The latest trend in the West is teaching children that the history of their countries is horrible, based on racism, Christianity, sexism, and homophobia so as to undermine patriotism and pave the way to multiculturalism, the right-wing weekly Demokracija says in its latest editorial.
The weekly says the "education system that is convincing children how great multiculturalism is" is even more destructive than the media that are distancing themselves from Slovenia's independence like the public broadcaster did in case of a show presenting independence efforts 30 years ago.
"The goal is to use the education system and other subsystems to undermine patriotism and create a society of some kind of artistic performance where there will be no restrictions and everyone will be equal."
This idea is appealing to young people whose personalities are not fully developed yet. They are attracted by the rule of the street, and this results in riots, hooliganism and deliberate causing of unrest, which could be seen in the capital not only last Thursday but ever since the centre-right government took over.
"Encouraged by months of incitement by the media mainstream and the left opposition, the brainwashed 'protesters' can no longer make logical conclusions themselves, which is only an introduction into something much sinister.
"This is how it all started in Europe, where now not just militant leftist groups are raging the streets but where migrants walk around killing the autochthonous population - exclusively because people such as [Slovenian SocDems leader] Tanja Fajon were on the covers and in prime time shows saying that the right response to violence and Islamic terrorism is 'solidarity and lighting of candles'.
"Such liberal and emphatic ideology is nothing but a suicide pill," Demokracija says under the headline Suicide Pill.
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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
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".
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.
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The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 30 October 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here
STA, 30 October 2020 - The latest editorial of the left-wing weekly paper Mladina speaks of populist authorities that are not really taking the situation seriously but exploiting it. It argues that the only way for people to resist is taking the protective measures even more seriously.
Mladina's editor chief Grega Repovž takes issue with the appearance of Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore at Wednesday's coronavirus briefing of the government and his call to people that they should "donate for holy masses and for the maintenance of parishes" instead of buying flowers and candles for All Saint's Day this year.
An hour after Zore's appearance, the Bishops' Conference issued a statement as well, "with the bulk of the call consisting of a harsh attack on protesters, criticism of the public broadcaster and a disqualification of the opposition".
"On the same day the coalition led by Janez Janša submitted to parliament changes to the media act through which it will secure public funding for its Hungarian-owned TV Nova24. Are these people really taking the situation seriously?" Repovž wonders in the commentary headlined Multiplication Tables.
"But we need to be better than them, than the government and Church. The same behaviour is required towards them as was the case with the former Communist Party: in these circumstance and given their character one needs to primarily make sure not to give them a fresh reason to torment us."
Repovž argues that the measures are not working "because there is actually no real content behind them, because they are only about dramatic labels that are not backed by any real plan" or effective execution.
He says despots are thriving in chaos and argues that the worse that the crisis will get, the more citizens will be vulnerable and powerless in relation to the government.
Repovž says that the people, trying to honour the instructions of epidemiologists "even though these are ignored and violated by the authorities" are actually left to confront the crisis alone. The only way to resist is to abide by the protective measures even more diligently and hope that "the public system is robust enough to withstand even incompetent holders of power".
STA, 29 October 2020 - The latest editorial of the right-wing weekly paper Demokracija, headlined Six Crucial Days or China Needs to Pay, says it is clear that the Chinese Communist Party was withholding key information about the coronavirus pandemic in the critical early stage of the outbreak.
Editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says that the top brass of the Party already knew on 14 January that a health crisis of global proportions was in the making, but kept silent until 20 January, allowing mass celebrations to continue at the centre of the outbreak and not suspending travel around the world that started ahead of the Lunar New Year.
Throughout this period China had the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which thus shares part of the blame for everything that followed in the months after and is yet to come.
"And it is perverted that the Asian superpower is selling medicine and medical equipment for the fight against Covid-19 to the entire world now, making a good profit and being on course to recording (unlike the rest of the world) 5% GDP growth at the end of the year."
China is rejecting any responsibility, but in a very unconvincing fashion, since all facts show that this health crisis could have been avoided to a large extent had China been fair and transparent.
"But of course it is an illusion to expect this from the Communists, who have lies inscribed into their genetic code. Instead, they first rounded up, locked down and silenced the scientists who were warning the world of the disaster through different channels.
"Only then did they close Wuhan Airport, which provides flights to destinations around the world, including to London, Rome and Paris. The door to the world was opened wide for the virus. Despite all the evidence, China, in a typical Communist agitprop fashion, accused the US army of bringing the virus to Wuhan. This was of course debunked quickly.
"The withholding of data, the half-truths and lies coming from Beijing and above all the unbelievable negligence in dealing with the virus brought hell to the world. China needs to pay!"
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The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 23 October 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here
STA, 23 October 2020 – The left-wing weekly Mladina says in its latest commentary that the numbers showing the social crisis brought by coronavirus are as horrifying and painful as the numbers of the infected, hospitalised and deceased. It adds that one must not express solidarity to patients without expressing solidarity to people who have been impacted in other ways.
"We cannot build the fight against the epidemic on the daily count of the infected, hospitalised and deceased. Of course, these numbers are important...but betting on these numbers distorts the picture. Other numbers hidden behind these numbers."
Under the headline In the Name of the Coming Weeks, Grega Repovž, the editor-in-chief of the left-leaning weekly, adds that the entire industry of socialisation, entertainment and recreation was halted last week in order to reduce the number of persons affected by coronavirus.
"The number of people without income, without means of subsistence drastically increased this week. These numbers are as horrifying and painful," Repovž says, adding that solidarity should also be expressed to these people.
The government has failed to prepare itself for this form of crisis in the past months, and now this problem may be solved only with humaneness and love. "This sounds cheesy and cheap, but it is not. If we want to solve what is coming, we badly need sentient people at all levels."
Repovž wonders whether Slovenians are aware at all how terrifying a social bomb is ticking as the "state has failed, and municipalities are pretending they have nothing to do with it," as there are no funds to finance rents and there is no additional welfare.
He also notes that it was politics which has taken the decisions which now reflect in all these numbers, and that society only followed it by default as it has limited power in the relation with politics.
"Politics is now telling us that it is best for us to point fingers at each other. Let's not fall for this trick. They are doing this in order to mask their own responsibility," concludes the commentary.
STA, 22 October 2020 – The right-wing weekly Demokracija says in Thursday's commentary that Slovenian mainstream media encourage opponents of restrictive measures while promoting resistance against the government.
"The epidemiological situation in Slovenia is progressively worse while the media mainstream promotes the conduct of [rapper Zlatan] Čordić and company who encourage boycotting masks and the application for tracing infected persons, and promote resistance to the centre-right government in these difficult times," says the editorial Born (and Raised) for Violence.
"It seems (and it is probably not far from the truth) that they genuinely want the virus to murder as many Slovenians as possible so that they can point their fingers at the faces at Gregorčičeva Street."
"And when someone from the government reacts, condemns their behaviour, they scream about attacks on media freedom and stories about the establishment of totalitarianism on the sunny side of the Alps are flying around the world, travelling to all possible and impossible addresses of (ideologically kidnapped) international progressive (media) associations."
The paper notes that these media are, however, not reporting on last week's attack on the Nova24 cameraman. "This would not be in line with political correctness and the maimed ideology of liberal democracy. It is allowed to beat the conservative-oriented (rightist, if you will), until exhaustion, is it not?"
According to the commentator, it is perhaps time that "good and peace-loving people no longer (just) pass olive branches. And that the principle Vim vi expellere licet [it is permitted to expel force with force] is not just dead ink on paper."
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The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 9 October 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here
STA, 9 October 2020 - Mladina's latest editorial says that PM Janez Janša stayed true to himself and launched an attack on Wednesday on the media and opposition as it became clear that his government failed to contain the epidemic. However, Slovenia's ongoing defeat against the epidemic is the result of a poor and incompetent leader, the left-leaning weekly paper asserts.
While Janša accused the media of encouraging violations of protective measures, this is a "dirty lie", Mladina's editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says, arguing there is not a single serious media outlet in Slovenia that would not be calling for respect of measures and spreading knowledge about the epidemic.
Even more, the media, despite being hammered by Janša constantly, have been rather gentle with regard to some major government blunders and the same holds true of the opposition, which never once sank to the level of Janša who threw insults at the previous government as the epidemic began and threatened with lawsuits even though this instilled even more fear in the already frightened public.
"Thus it needs to be stated before his lie spreads: Janez Janša is the one incapable of handling crises, he does not understand what a crisis situation is, which is something that he already showed in 2012 and this merely got confirmed now. It again showed that Janša is without leadership abilities, without organisational abilities and above all completely incapable of uniting the nation in distress," Repovž says under Back to 2020.
"Instead of working, he puts out 30 tweets a day or more and constantly follows developments on this social platform," adds Repovž, who draws hope from the initiative to form a centre-left government as an alternative to Janša, from the discourse accompanying this effort as well as from the demands of the protest movement.
"The stakes are very high. We are in the middle of the epidemic. But in the middle of such a situation, the current government finds it more important to replace the directors of all oversight institutions than to unite the people in the fight against the epidemic. While everybody is taking the epidemic seriously, Janša is only using it."
STA, 5 October 2020 - The right-wing weekly magazine Reporter says in its latest commentary that the opposition's search for a new prime minister is gaining steam, with several scenarios being in play behind the scenes on how to get the required 46 votes for a constructive vote of no confidence in Janez Janša.
Janša is pushing his agenda in an uncompromising fashion and is triggering the left-leaning opposition and its political backing to make plans for how to bring down the current government as soon as possible.
Under the headline to the Last Breath and Further, editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla says that a six-month transitional government until a snap election is out of the question, and that only a new political government until the regular 2022 election is an alternative.
But in the latest plans of the "uncles behind the scenes", some of the current parliamentary party leaders taking over at the government is not an option, either, and the path to the 46 votes is gradual.
With the ousting of Aleksandra Pivec as the head of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), the DeSUS takeover operation is half-way through, and intensive talks are being conducted with its former leader Karl Erjavec, who is willing to return only under certain conditions.
This would be followed by a merger of DeSUS with the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) and Modern Centre Party (SMC), which would together with the MPs of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD) and Left then vote Janša out of office.
The problem is that they still do not have a name for prime minister-designate, who would be a supra-party candidate. Two names have been circulated in the media lately - the former European Commissioner Janez Potočnik and Court of Audit president Tomaž Vesel.
But it is expected that the prime minister, while the opposition is digging him a political grave, will not be idle and that he will do everything he can to keep the current coalition together as long as possible, preparing the grounds for the next election.
"In the tense game of political poker, Janez Janša has better cards in his sleeve compared to the political plotters from the left, but the game nevertheless remains unpredictable," the commentary concludes.
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The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 2 October 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here
STA, 2 October 2020 - The left-leaning magazine Mladina argues in the latest editorial that the only way to stop Slovenia being turned into a "little Hungary" is to find a non-partisan candidate for PM and a merger between several current coalition and opposition parties.
The editor-in-chief Grega Repovž lambastes the opposition for its response to calls this week to close its ranks and establish whether it is capable before the election to stop "Slovenia's being turned into a little Hungary with one leader and one party and its satellites, with limited media freedom, party-run economy etc.".
He finds it ludicrous that former PM Marjan Šarec should have offered himself as a candidate considering that he had blown his chances as PM by "stupidly" resigning, after showing himself as a bad leader.
Repovž goes on to say that the prospects for Šarec's LMŠ party are not promising, as are not for the Left and its leader Luka Mesec, who lost credibility in voters' eyes when it parted their ways with the Šarec-led coalition.
Voters blame the Left and the LMŠ for bringing PM Janez Janša to power, and "the arrival of something new", i.e. a new party, will be destructive for both, writes Repovž, adding: "And this new something will arrive."
He goes on to say that SocDem leader Tanja Fajon neither has the political power nor skills to be PM and does not appear to be capable of strengthening her party.
For anything to change, it has to be in the Modern Centre Party (SMC) and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), Repovž says, adding that while DeSUS might survive, the SMC has no future as an independent party, while both parties know they cannot recover as long as they continue in coalition with PM Janez Janša.
"The only serious chance for a potential attempt to form a coalition is a candidate for PM who does not belong to any of the parties and is a powerful enough personality (a former publicly esteemed politician) on the one hand, and a process to form a new political party within the current parliament on the other."
Repovž proposes a merger between the SMC, SAB and DeSUS and possibly another party, saying that the whole proposition seems unlikely but is the only way out of the current situation, while anything else is hopeless.
STA, 28 September 2020 - The right-wing weekly Reporter looks at potential scenarios that could lead to a new government in the latest editorial, saying that unless the Janez Janša government gets a vote of no confidence by the end of the year or by the end of the winter, the third Janša's government will be firmly in the saddle until the next election in the spring of 2020.
Janša is back in power not so much thanks to the voters of the Democrats (SDS), who gave the party the most votes in the June 2018 election, but primarily thanks to Marjan Šarec, who resigned as prime minister at the end of January and his coalition partners, who denied him support, starting with the Left.
And now this left-leaning lot is working on creating a new government, editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla says. They say that they could agree on at least five key projects but the problem is they cannot agree on who would be the new prime minister.
Former PM Alena Bratušek has sensed the opportunity to return to power and could offer to be a compromise solution, as Šarec and SocDem leader Tanja Fajon have publicly clashed, both wanting the post.
Šarec's argument is that his LMŠ party still has the most votes among left parties, while Fajon claims it would be ridiculous if Šarec became prime minister again, given that he had resigned from the post.
However, the LMŠ, SD, SAB and the Left have only 39 votes in the 90-member parliament, so they would have to get at least seven votes from the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) and Modern Centre Party (SMC) for their no-confidence motion to succeed.
After Aleksandra Pivec resigned as DeSUS head the chances of at least four of its MPs changing sides are a little bit bigger. But in that case at least three SMC MPs would also be required. Some say that even SMC head Zdravko Počivalšek could change sides.
But these are nothing but political calculations. In the 30-year-history of independent Slovenia, the country has never had three governments in a single term and the left has never been so fragmented, Šurla says.
Perhaps, everything is merely a show for voters of left-leaning parties. So that their leaders could say that they did what they could to beat Janša but failed. "Taking on the responsibility and rule in these difficult times of the epidemic and multi-billion gap in the state budget is no walk in the park."
Only the SD has a relatively stable election base, while the LMŠ, Left and SAB do not, so their interest is primarily political survival. Hence their selfishness and political calculations. The joint interests of the left bloc come second to them. Being a veteran politician Janša knows that very well, Šurla says under the title Mission Impossible, Part III.
All our posts in this series are here
The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 25 September 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here
Mladina: Education Ministry rebuked for situation at schools
STA, 25 September 2020 – Mladina, the left-wing weekly, criticises the government and Education Ministry for "sending the education system into the corona-autumn completely unprepared". It says in Friday's editorial that all staff at schools, not just teachers, are on the verge of exhaustion and that the system could easily collapse.
No additional teachers and kitchen or cleaning staff - vital to keep the system going in the difficult times - was hired, the idea for teaching in shifts was not examined and no plan was made to adjust teaching for individual subjects in case face masks have to be worn, says editor-in-chief Grega Repovž.
Talking with a face mask for six hours in a classroom is hard and calls for adjustment. "But how could have the ministry made the plan when it had claimed there would be no masks," the editor wonders.
"The ministry has let schools down," he says, adding that teachers who cannot wear masks for health reasons were given no concessions, and while healthcare workers are entitled to coronavirus testing, no such testing was provided for teachers.
Instead of providing masks free of charge for teachers and children, the government provided 500,000 disposable masks for the entire education system. The figure is bizzarely low, given that 200,000 children and youth go to school every day, whereas masks free of charge are said to be provided to small businesses.
Mladina says Education Minister Simona Kustec should not resign because of a minor mistake of not wearing a mask at a gala dinner, but so that somebody who is up to the challenge takes over at her office.
The entire government has failed to deliver, with the education system breaking down three weeks after the new school year started, and a similar fiasco can be observed in other systems, such as public transport, Mladina says.
It suffices to look at healthcare to see what education is in for. While doing nothing to prepare the healthcare system for the autumn, it is clear already that the government will use the situation to quickly and mercilessly privatise it. Laboratories are the first to go.
Reporter: Slovenian healthcare not public but state-run
STA, 21 September 2020 - The right-wing weekly Reporter is critical of an expected rise of the compulsory healthcare insurance, saying it signals a potential continuation of the decline of the healthcare system even under the centre-right Janez Janša government.
Speaking of continuing systemic issues, Reporter argues in its latest commentary Slovenia does not have public healthcare, but state-run healthcare that prevents access to all the doctors available in the country and to direly needed services in time.
Moreover, the system is rife with corruption, with some of those distributing the public funds also representing those vying for them, the weekly says under The Millionaires and the Victims of 'Public Healthcare'.
"People known best in the public for calls for public healthcare can afford fast and private healthcare...When they are told the waiting line for tests is six months or more, they go to a private doctor and get treatment within a few days.
"The 'small people' in whose name the former ones are raising their voice on the other hand cannot afford this. They can stand in line and hope their condition does not deteriorate drastically in the meantime. This happens after years of paying compulsory insurance in order to have access to healthcare."
All our posts in this series are here