Ljubljana related

20 Sep 2020, 13:37 PM

STA, 18 September 2020 - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs has purchased a plot of land on the Slovenian coast for less than a third of the price the Koper municipality could have potentially fetched with the sale, Mladina reports on Friday. It suggests that Boris Popovič, the mayor of Koper at the time the land was initially sold to a Russian company, is involved.

The weekly says that Hojs purchased last July building land in the village of Kolomban, which overlooks the Slovenian coast near Koper.

The property was purchased from the Russian national Marat Idrisov, whose company had bought a larger piece of land in April 2017 at a public auction from the Koper municipality, which decided after the auction to service the land with a road and a sewage system.

The municipality, which was run by Boris Popovič at the time, sold a total of 3,894 square metres of land in Kolomban. Idrisov was the only bidder, as the land had not even been accessible by road at the time.

His company, Rjeckon, purchased the land at the asking price of EUR 262,920 or EUR 67.50 per square metre, which is a lower than the Koper municipality usually sells land plots to its residents, the weekly adds.

It notes that Rjeckon "is an unknown company, without particular references, and which prior to 2017 actually had no noteworthy revenue or assets expected from a company registered for real estate deals".

Idrisov is an acquaintance of Popovič's infrastructure advisor Radivoje Anđelković, who is believed to have helped the Russian buy the land. For instance, Anđelković allowed Idrisov to register his company at his home address in Ljubljana.

When the land was sold to Idrisov, it was still inaccessible by car, but after the sale the municipality decided to build utility infrastructure there - including a road to all land plots sold and a sewage system, the weekly notes.

Idrisov had thus actually purchased land for which other interested buyers could not have possibly known or predict that it would be provided with infrastructure at the municipality's expense.

Moreover, instead of a plot on which the local authorities built an access road, Idrisov was given the remainder of the available adjacent land to improve the functionality of the entire land plot.

Idrisov then divided his land into several plots and sold it to four persons, including Popovič, Anđelković and Hojs. The interior minister purchased 882 square metres for EUR 75,910, or EUR 86 per square metre.

Had the municipality serviced the land before selling it at auction, it could have fetched more than EUR 300 per square metre or more than EUR 1 million. In that case Hojs, would have to pay EUR 264,600 for his plot, according to Mladina.

The minister has told Mladina that he had reported the deal to the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, that he had financed it with his own assets and a loan, and that Popovič had not helped him with the purchase.

In a response, Hojs told the press in parliament he had nothing to add because everything is written in the opposition Left's online bulletin - Mladina.

Hojs is defending some of his past actions in the National Assembly as MPs are discussing the opposition-sponsored motion of no-confidence in him.

20 Sep 2020, 13:19 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 18 September 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: SDS driven by greed not ideology

STA, 18 September 2020 - The left-wing weekly Mladina argues in the latest editorial that the government's actions and decisions are driven by the ruling party's desire for money rather than by ideology.

"It is all about money (...) this is why the Slovenian government is one of the few that, at the time when the country is paralysed and hysterical with the epidemic, are busy with changes in the very system and makeup of the state," writes editor-in-chief Grega Repovž.

As one example he offers the creation of a demographic fund where he says the coalition are admitting they are redistributing the state silverware and the power of its management based on party formula.

Another is the tax reform where Repovž says the tax burden on top earners will be reduced, and the plan to annul tax on luxury vehicles.

He finds it paradoxical that "the government is mostly supported by voters who will never have those luxury cars, who will never be in top tax brackets, and they still believe those in power are some kind of fighters for social justice."

Instead, Repovž says that PM Janez Janša, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs and other members of the government are those rich people that they are fighting for, so they do not see what is wrong with leveraging power to adapt tenders, legislation and business ways to make money.

He refers to an article in the latest edition of Mladina about how Hojs was sold an elite plot of land by the Koper municipality under Mayor Boris Popovič to the local community's detriment.

"We have people in power who are involved in suspicious dealings, do business with suspicious people, meet people who are in criminal procedures, work with people who propagate publicly they do tax evasion, they interfere in criminal procedures to help people in procedures over human trafficking and prostitution (...). None of them has denied any of that."

In conclusion of the piece headlined In Plain Sight, Repovž says that the hardest thing to understand is how none of deputies or other ministers of the junior coalition partners are bothered even though they know exactly what is going on.

Demokracija: Charges against Hojs ludicrous

STA, 17 September 2020 - The right-wing magazine Demokracija defends Interior Minister Aleš Hojs against accusations in the opposition-sponsored motion against him and the criminal complaint targeting him, which it finds absurd.

In the latest edition, Jože Biščak, the editor-in-chief, calls the charge over the reversal of the ban on concert of Croatian singer Marko Perković Thompson "the most stupid accusation on the planet" after the US Democrats' attempt to impeach President Donald Trump.

He says the accusation is based on disagreement with the ideological views of a Croatian singer the majority would never even heard about had the leftists not banned his concert in 2017, a ban that the Interior Ministry lifted after a series of complaints.

Biščak supports Hojs's view that the ministry's decision is based on human rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution, including freedom of speech, arguing that a Thompson concert is one such freedom, while being offended by such a concert is not a basic freedom.

He argues that back in 2017 the Miro Cerar government should have provided security to Thompson and his fans against a mass of people who planned to prevent the concert.

Meanwhile, he says it "would not be worth wasting one's breath over the criminal complaint against Hojs for ordering a revision of the most controversial corruption cases that have never seen a closure if it did not make obvious the political motivation of those who filed it".

The fact that they signed the complaint as 'honest police officers' should send alarm bells ringing as it is, writes Biščak under the headline The Heartbeat of Guerilla Politics, adding that the anonymous complaint is likely to be taken seriously by prosecutors even though it should end up in a bin.

"Experience of the justice system, which instead of guaranteeing equal and fair treatment of all by law dwells behind the door to hell, teaches us that we will witness a new farce. You know the way it goes: leftists adapt and change rules in guerrilla fashion so they suit the conduct of deep state evil doers."

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13 Sep 2020, 10:48 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 11 September 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Janša creating chaos, offering impressions without content

STA, 11 September 2020 - The left-wing weekly Mladina is critical in its latest editorial of what it sees as a policy of hollow impressions pursued by Janez Janša-led governments. It argues Janša is all about chaos, in which he can pursue an ideological agenda, while true content in terms of effective measures is absent.

Accusing Janša of scaremongering during the refugee crisis and during the last financial crisis, Mladina editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says that similar behaviour can be witnessed again in the fight against coronavirus.

"A lot of wind, and above all a large number of measures that create the impression of a government working around the clock, moving from one extreme to the other, closing municipal borders and all the way to a dramatic end of the epidemic and the flypast by US aircraft," Repovž says under Chaos.

He goes on to list a number of crucial measures against Covid-19, saying they have all remained unimplemented, all the way down to the quarantine orders, which are still without legal validity.

The government has also failed to convince people that masks are effective, Repovž argues, saying officials often do not wear them, including not Janez Janša when receiving Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz with whom he moreover shook hands.

"We are not saying that the situation is alarming at this point. But one thing is clear: the good results of the fight against coronavirus are mostly the result of responsible behaviour on the part of the residents of this country. They are really tough and patient, having had to observe the double-faced behaviour of politicians for months."

Reporter: Police force politicised

STA, 7 September 2020 - "The police force has been more or less politicised under every government," says the right-wing weekly Reporter on Monday, arguing that if the police were truly independent and professional, then they would be more successful in cracking white-collar crime and corruption.

However, only a few thieves have been caught among those who were stealing and capitalising on the transition period, "but nothing happened to the rest, who had good connections, including political ones".

The editor-in-chief Silverster Šurla notes in the editorial that the Janez Janša government has replaced a number of persons holding top posts, just like any other government, including in the tax office, police, military and the intelligence agencies.

"The new government has not yet taken complete control over the police though, particularly not in case of the elite National Bureau of Investigation," says Reporter, pointing out that information about what is going on at the Interior Ministry and police is leaked to media almost daily.

The police should be independent of politics, but that has not been seen in Slovenia yet and probably would not be ever since the force is a major tool for the authorities, either left-wing or right-wing.

Since Slovenia's independence, there have been a number of cases of political interferences in the work of the police, either to drag the procedures or to speed them up. "However, it is true that the police have been longer and more controlled by the political left than the right."

Both sides of the aisle are finger pointing and proclaiming efforts to depoliticise the police when they are ruling though, says the editorial under the headline Danger in the House at the End.

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29 Aug 2020, 13:11 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 28 August 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Beović spreading hysteria while not controlling infections

STA, 28 August 2020 - The latest commentary in the left-leaning weekly Mladina comes as a letter by the editor-in-chief written to Bojana Beović, the head of the Health Ministry's Covid-19 task force, in which she is being criticised for spreading hysteria in Slovenia over potential infections while practically doing nothing to control infections.

In Letter to Prof. Bojana Beović, Grega Repovž says that while a majority of expert guidelines so far have been logical and well explained, "this of course could not be said for the government's policy, which you also belong to and support with your statements."

"The government policy is based on scaremongering, exaggeration and misleading, because of which most of the people do not trust you enough, which public opinion polls show. This is bad, because the autumn is coming."

Repovž says that citizens deserve respect from representatives of the authorities, and that Beović has acted the opposite in recent weeks, especially when it comes to the return of Slovenian holiday-goers from Croatia.

"You deliberately mislead people, and exerted psychological violence on them with fearmongering and spreading uneasiness. Acting like this had no logic, especially if it is compared to how the relevant expert bodies in Austria and Germany acted."

Beović claimed that quarantine is a better solution than testing, and it is, but "your government did not introduce quarantine for people returning from Croatia at all - everyone who returned by the evening last Monday avoided quarantine."

Hysteria was being spread among people for ten days, but all who were in Croatia during the most critical period returned to their jobs on Monday without being tested or quarantined. "You were not stricter than Austrians and Germans, as you tried to portray, but you actually did nothing to control the infections."

Repovž also notes that it is not true that the authorities are able to compare data on entry and exit from the country, which people were threatened with. "These databases do not exist. This is exaggerating and arrogantly inventing things, while control of infections is missing. Why?".

He wonders if Beović perhaps believes that "hysteria and fearmongering are means to an and - people in general being aware of the situation, expressing solidarity and acting safe. This does not even work in small children."

What Beović has done is only spoiling people's vacations and scaring the entire nation, while actually not introducing quarantine or testing. "You introduced quarantine only now, when families with small children, older persons and people with lower income are going on holiday."

Demokracija: Judiciary should admit mistakes

STA, 27 August 2020 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija says that the "swamp" of Slovenia's judiciary is slowly drying out, judging by "obvious nervousness seen in reactions by the (heads) of the judiciary and the prosecution to criticism occasionally offered by [Prime Minister] Janez Janša".

Under the headline Red Vipers, the weekly says on Thursday that judges and prosecutors in Slovenia are not held accountable for the mistakes they make.

Even though they have been proven to hand down wrongful rulings, at odds with the rule of law, and charges borne out of political constructs or confrontations, judges and prosecutors continue to defend their work.

"None of them ever has tried to correct the wrongs in the Patria case. Nobody has even apologised," the weekly says about the defence corruption case that saw Janša being found guilty of accepting the promise of a bribe before a retrial was ordered and the case became statute barred.

And now they are trying to avoid facing the consequences in the lawsuits brought against them by Janša and his party, the Democrats (SDS), the paper says. The most recent manoeuvre is a local purview ping-pong in lawsuits against a prosecutor and judges involved in the Patria case.

"Lawyer Franci Matoz is right in saying that the 'comic tragedy has become a serial'," the paper says in reference to Janša's lawyer.

Slovenia has never really broken away from revolutionary law, and the judiciary and the prosecution "can not only cost you your good name but can force you to spend your time and money on (impossible) defence from something that is very obviously a fabrication".

"But neither the prosecutor using manipulated evidence nor a judge from the judicially 'indicative circle', face any consequences." Not only that, they get promoted. The public should be afraid of such judges and prosecutors and should not keep quiet.

"Every day, the every-man should come to the swamp and help dry it, because the smelly and slimy untouchables can do injustice to him as well," the paper says, also accusing the "mainstream media" of supporting untrue indictments and rulings, while attacking those who dare speak out about injustices.

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22 Aug 2020, 13:15 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 21 August 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Lack of info makes it hard to see through govt measures

STA, 21 August 2020 - A poor flow of information stemming from the coronavirus pandemic makes it harder to compare Slovenian government decisions to developments in other countries, the left-wing Mladina weekly says in Friday's editorial, headlined Closed Society. It criticises a decision to introduce quarantine for returns from Croatia instead of offering testing.

Editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says that we are witnessing a year when information flow has drastically slowed down globally, with the focus on Covid-related information.

The lack of information makes comparison with other countries harder, so Slovenians see government decisions as "completely logical and the only possibly ones".

Repovž points to a decision to impose a two-week quarantine for travellers returning from Croatia, saying public debate is centred on whether to introduce it or not, instead of considering a third option - mandatory testing.

While this option has been introduced in the majority of Western countries, there is no public pressure to consider it in Slovenia and the government is not mentioning it.

If one decides on voluntary testing, they can do it at only two points, and it comes with a high price tag of over 90 euro.

Belgium, a much richer country, offers it for a mere 46 euro, and it is free of charge in Austria or Germany for those returning from other countries.

Repovž says that many people being quarantined has economic consequences for entire Slovenia which go beyond the potential cost of testing for the state.

But being closed information-wise, we see the government's thoughtless moves as the only option, he says.

Education is another area the editor takes issue with, saying the government should have changed legislation to give schools more autonomy in adjusting to Covid-19.

Instead, headmasters and teachers are terrified not knowing whether they will be able to observe all the recommendations.

Repovž says that if there was no emergency due to the epidemic, all major world media outlets would have sent their teams to Slovenia by now.

The epidemic has somewhat concealed the fact that Slovenia is an EU member state where anti-establishment protests have been going on for the fifth month running.

Was there no epidemic, it would be clearer the country is in a deep political crisis, says Repovž, adding that foreign media will probably realise that in the autumn when protests get more radical.

Problematic East European countries linking up in an ever louder and self-confident manner gives the EU and its powerful members more opportunities to react in a harder and clearer manner to the course pursued by the European East, to which Slovenia now belongs, concludes the editorial.

Demokracija: Remote learning prevents left-wing indoctrination

STA, 20 August 2020 - Two weeks before students are to return to brick-and-mortar schools, the right-wing weekly Demokracija says there would be no harm for students if remote learning continues in the autumn, saying that left-wing politicians are critical of this scenario because it would make it harder for them to indoctrinate children.

The weekly says that the results of the matura secondary school leaving exam were better this year following months of remote learning, but the left wing leaves this out of debates. Instead, they focus on "socialisation, which is actually indoctrination and has been made harder in distant learning."

"They are scared that they are losing power over the young and over their training to become future obedient multiculturalists and rainbow warriors," Demokracija editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says under the headline Dialectics of Good and Bad.

When a child learns by themselves or with the help of parents, focus shits away from things deemed important in the 2011 education white paper put together by a left government.

The biggest victory of cultural Marxists was to change education white books so as to render knowledge unimportant. Standards have been lowered to accommodate the "new citizens, arrivals from countries where the average IQ is by up to two standard deviation classes lower than the average IQ in developed countries".

The goal was social engineering that made subjects like the mother tongue, mathematics, physics and other natural sciences unimportant, replacing them with environmental activism, hunger and poverty, LGBT rights, multiculturalism, the fault of Europeans for the underdeveloped third world, green energy and social fairness.

The consequence is that children are raised to be mediocre to reduce the differences between them. "This is a typical socialist concept of being equal in poverty, but with an enlightened (and self-proclaimed) elite at the head".

The elite is the only one to benefit from the system that makes the development of any country virtually impossible by repressing meritocracy, whereas the latter benefits everybody, even those who are unsuccessful. The meritocratic elite can split an atom, research nanoparticles, send a man to the moon, make iPhones and laptops and boost food production with sophisticated technology.

To raise as many such people as possible, the education system should only provide young people with knowledge, they can form their own view of the world later on by themselves. This is the only way we can move forward, Demokracija says.

"You don't believe me? I ask you, which of these studies is more important to tackle hunger and poverty: studies by various 'peace institutes' about patriarchy in rural areas and gender equality in agricultural work, or a study by a technical institute about new and more effective ways to grow corn and cereal?"

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15 Aug 2020, 13:00 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 13 August 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Government creating atmosphere of hate

STA, 14 August 2020 - The left-wing magazine Mladina speaks out against hate speech, insults and an atmosphere of hatred that it says is being fuelled by the current government and coalition, a situation its editor says is worse than any economic crisis or the worst of the Communist era.

Grega Repovž, the editor-in-chief, argues in the latest edition that the review ordered by Interior Minister Aleš Hojs of some of the police investigations that have already been closed is yet another attempt to smear political opponents of the ruling coalition and two media outlets, POP TV and Mladina.

If there was "a shred of evidence" about the allegations of abuse of the dominant position by the broadcaster Pro Plus or about the money from public procurement of stents allegedly being siphoned off to Mladina, Repovž does not doubt investigators and prosecutors would have filed charges a long time ago, if only in order to get a conclusion in court.

"However, there has been no such evidence, the two stories are political fabrications, they have done enough damage to both media outlets because they are intriguing just enough to sow doubt in people. The aim of SDS leader Janša and Minister Hojs remains to impact on the reputation of the media by repeating those untruths."

However, Repovž says that no one is spared the insult or a smear campaign as long as they dare express criticism or a different opinion in public. As one example he offers the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, whose news programme editor Manica Janežič Ambrožič has shown on main news but a glimpse of the base insults she and other journalists are subject to on a daily basis.

"What is happening today is violence against society that is being committed by the ruling coalition of the SDS, SMC, NSi and DeSUS with the abetting of Zmago Jelinčič's nationalists (...) It is worse than any economic crisis."

Repovž argues that all the coalition partners take the blame for the level society has sunk to, no matter if they point their fingers at each other or at the senior coalition Democratic Party (SDS).

"This level of yours is an attack on (...) everything we wanted of this country, it is an attack on its formation, on a democratic and enlightened state that is supposed to unify (...)

"You are turning this society into a society of beasts. Does anyone truly believes that once you have conquered everything you aimed for, once you demolish all the systems, smear and humiliate the last civil servant, teacher, journalist and politician who will not humour you in your politically-motivated trials, a morning will break when it all goes back to normal, when we become people again?

"It is conduct not committed by the Slovenian Communists in the worst of times. And how many years it took us to pick ourselves up from that system and its errors? There are still traces of that history throughout society."

Demokracija: Conspiracy against Pivec

STA, 13 August 2020 – The right-wing Demokracija magazine argues in Thursday's commentary that the accusations against Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) leader Aleksandra Pivec are in fact an attack by proxy on Prime Minister Janez Janša and the entire government, as part of a conspiracy between leftist parties and the mainstream media.

"The hysterical and bizarre screaming by the left opposition and the mainstream media has one goal only: after they failed with the fabricated scandal with [Economy Minister] Zdravko Počivalšek and masks, Pivec is a handy target for an attack on Janez Janša and the centre-right government, which must collapse no matter the cost," the paper says in Media Mafia on Steroids.

"The DeSUS president is just collateral damage. If she was not, she would have been 'manhandled' every day over the SRIPT project. But she was not, because she was a part of the left coalition at the time.

"It is surprising and utterly fascinating how many negative traits the dominant media have suddenly discovered in Pivec. That is why what they are doing with their staged shows is a paranoid attack orchestrated with the left, it is by no means investigative journalism," editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says.

The commentator speaks about "mass hysteria" driven by the realisation that fewer and fewer people are buying this. Their only chance therefore is to scream and "increase the dose of lying steroids, but in the end this will lead to a collapse of their depraved philosophy".

Everything that is not theirs is labelled as a rightist conspiracy, but this is "a figment of their imagination, of a sick mind". There is no such rightist conspiracy, but there is a very tangible leftist conspiracy.

The media "no longer serves justice and the truth, this is why it is the job of (good) people to prevent the media mafia from continuing to make Slovenia their home," the paper concludes.

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01 Aug 2020, 12:13 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work week ending Friday, 30 July 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Gross negligence over care homes

STA, 31 July 2020 - The left-wing weekly Mladina argues in its latest editorial that the government has committed a criminal offence of negligence by failing to prevent a repeated coronavirus outbreak at care homes despite knowing what happened there in the first wave of infections.

Grega Repovž, the editor-in-chief, writes that the situation at the Hrastnik care home, a major Covid-19 hotspot in the country, is different than in the case of outbreaks at aged care facilities during the first wave.

It was an error of judgement not to admit infected care home residents to hospitals and isolate them outside the homes, and "the fact could not be denied that fewer elderly would have got sick and fewer would have died" given a different course of action, "but we do not think this was done in ill faith", he writes.

"The Hrastnik case is different. It is different because today we all know most care homes are built in such a way that it is impossible to prevent infected air from spreading between units and floors (...).

"However, the ministries of health and labour and the PM - who publicly interferes in everything - have made no plan in those months how to rescue the aged residents," Repovž writes under the headline Conscious Negligence.

He says the authorities can no longer cite the state of emergency as an excuse, also because of many examples of best practice, including in Croatia, where healthy residents have been immediately moved out of the infected building.

"You do not have to be an epidemiologist to know the biggest risk is socialising in large groups in indoor places. In that respect care homes are much riskier than nurseries or schools."

Repovž goes on to say that care homes are even more risky than night clubs and bars the government has been warning about. He also says that there are plenty of empty facilities - from empty hotels to youth hostels and dorms - that care home residents could be moved to and dispersed into smaller groups.

"When the infection breaks in, the elderly are systematically left there, in the homes without good ventilation, knowing the infection will spread and some will die because of it (...). It is an act of negligence. Negligent conduct that leads to death is a criminal offence in Slovenia."

Demokracija: EU budget success

STA, 30 July 2020 – Demokracija, the right-wing weekly, commends in its latest commentary PM Janez Janša for standing firm in the negotiations for the next EU budget, which it argues has brought Slovenia credibility and more funds. It meanwhile berates the opposition for minimising and relativising what it deems as a success.

"The ruffle in the Slovenian opposition shows that they do not even know what this was about," Jože Biščak, the editor-in-chief of the right-leaning weekly says under the headline Club of Elite Liars.

It was not only about money in Brussels, but also about control - and not only control of the use of money, but over countries themselves, as a desire was expressed for the EU to become a federation and Brussels the flag bearer of the ideology.

"The rule of law, which sounds nice, is collateral damage, an excuse for forcing progressive migration policy on Poland and Hungary," the weekly adds.

"The defiance and firm negotiating positions of the Visegrad Group countries, which were joined by Slovenia, that the eligibility to funds for the recovery of Europe must not be made conditional on sovereign countries giving up on their concern for the nations's culture, tradition and identity and sovereignty ... was an important (stage) win."

Demokracija adds that "despite the great foreign policy success for Slovenia, the media mainstream and opposition kept minimising and relativising the matter all the time, lied about it and manipulated with it, and accused the ruling coalition of giving up on the rule of law."

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25 Jul 2020, 12:30 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 24 July 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Fajon should move SD to left

STA, 24 July 2020 - Mladina takes a look at the left-aisle political parties in Friday's editorial, in particular Social Democrats (SD) interim leader Tanja Fajon, who, the left-wing weekly says, has the potential to consolidate the party, but also faces numerous challenges.

The SD is taking the lead on the left, as shown by opinion polls two months in a row, but the question remains whether the party truly belongs to the left-wing, says Mladina, noting that historically speaking, the SD is a leftist party, but neoliberal views and alleged involvement in controversial deals have cast a shadow on its policies and integrity.

Selecting Fajon as the new SD leader has been a good choice and not too risky since she is "a full-blooded politician", ambitious and popular, with MEP experience that have given her a wider perspective.

The paper also points out that Fajon is the only Slovenian MEP so far to have climbed quite high in the political hierarchy of the European Parliament.

Nevertheless, she is faced with various challenges. "Both other leading left parties are much stronger in terms of their programmes and ideologies even though they are weaker regarding staff".

Fajon is unlikely to tackle the party's unresolved issues or to reform it right away, but she still needs to move it to the left.

"That will not be easy since the moment she does that, the party's sinecure interests, which are aplenty, would be threatened. But if she fails to do that, voters' support would be quick to vanish."

Her potential downfall could also be instigated by hubris or having a thin skin as a politician, typical traits in Slovenian politics, says the editorial, headlined An Opportunity for Tanja Fajon.

"Gradually it will become clear who will be Fajon's right-hand persons inside and outside the party," argues editor-in-chief Grega Repovž, adding that such choices always indicate the future of a politician.

Reporter: Why Janša wants to subjugate RTV Slovenija

STA, 20 July 2020 - The right-leaning magazine Reporter finds in the latest editorial that PM Janez Janša wants to subjugate the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, just like leftist governments before him have.

Editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla opens his piece headlined Golobič Looking for a New Drnovšek by saying that Gregor Golobič, an influential secretary general during the decade-long rule of the Liberal Democrats (LDS), "is said to be feverishly looking for a new Janez Drnovšek. Yet another 'new face' with realistic chances of defeating Janša's SDS in the election."

The reference is to Slovenia's late leader who as LDS chairman served as prime minister for a decade before going on to become Slovenia's president.

Šurla says the "deep state's scenario" is to call a vote of no confidence in the Janša government by putting forward a new PM-designate this autumn, followed by an early election next spring.

This is why he believes that if the third Janša government does not fall by the end of the year, it will stay on until the regular election in the first half of 2022.

Šurla notes the growing discontent among the membership of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) as well as the "slippery slope" Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek stands on, not only because of the controversy surrounding the procurement of medical supplies, but also because the Administrative Court has upheld the anti-graft watchdog's findings that his meetings with Janez Zemljarič, the boss of the Communist-era secret police turned lobbyist, had been unlawful.

Šurla writes that Janša appears to be aware of how critical the situation is, which is why he is trying to turn all the attacks on his government and his person to his own advantage, portraying himself in public as a victim of the deep state.

A bigger threat to him than the weak opposition is the law enforcement authorities and the media, hence the replacements and legislative changes.

"The clash for the media is a clash for power. Any pretence is superfluous," writes Šurla, adding that unlike in Hungary or Serbia, the ruling regime no longer controls key media in Slovenia, like Milan Kučan or Janez Drnovšek or 'new faces' coming after them used to do.

Noting that Janša has been taking control of the media when in power, and that he has also been founding his own, he says the "biggest subject of political desire is now (again) RTV Slovenija. The large outsized media mammoth, which even after the change of regime has mostly served the political interests of the left (...).

"No matter what he says, Janša does not really want to depoliticise RTV, but rather subjugate it as much as possible, similarly as leftist governments were subjugating it more or less successfully during the transition.

"The incumbent prime minister is one of the many Slovenian politicians who have a perverted attitude to the media. Those are considered independent and objective only when they report in his favour or to the detriment of his political rivals."

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18 Jul 2020, 13:28 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 16 July 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Way to early election

STA, 17 July 2020 - The MPs of the coalition DeSUS and SMC are hostages of the ruling Democrats (SDS), the left-wing weekly Mladina says on Friday. They insist in the coalition because they fear losing their seats, which could be easily solved by empowering them by making them financially independent, the left-leaning weekly say in MPs Must Not Be Hostages.

The MPs of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) and Modern Centre Party (SMC) fooled their voters when they joined a far-right government, while they had promised them they would never do it.

Mladina's editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says the anti-government protests, which started more than 10 weeks ago, are actually directed against them.

It admits the MPs are in a dead end - they joined the Janez Janša government hoping it would be bearable, while realising after four months in government it is not.

Janša is offering them two more years in office, that is until the next regular general election.

Mladina says DeSUS and SMC MPs are largely victims of Slovenia's constitutional arrangement

Under the constitution, the Slovenian president is the one to decide that parliament is not able to form a stable government and can call an election, but it is actually MPs who have the decision on an early election in their hands.

Mladina says the MPs are always in a dilemma when faced with such a political decision, because this is also a decision on the end of their terms.

The SMC and DeSUS MPs are criticised for having supported the Janša government so that they would not lose their jobs less than half way through their term, which Mladina says this is probably true but also understandable from a human point of view.

Yet MPs can only be truly independent if they are not forced to consider losing their job, if they are financially independent.

There is a simple solution to this - a new article should be added to the deputies act saying MPs are entitled to a compensation for the loss of income until the end of a regular term if an early election is called.

Although this could be a lot of money, it is little considering the harm they can prevent by opting for an early election.

"This is the price of functioning democracy," says Mladina, adding that 30 years of democracy has shown how important it is that MPs are independent.

Reporter: Hungarian scenario may not be effective in Slovenia

STA, 13 July 2020 - Commenting on the current political developments in Slovenia, the right-wing weekly Reporter argues on Monday that the potential formation of an alternative leftist government could have the reverse effect and end up hurting the left-aisle parties, whereas the right cannot count on gaining the upper hand overnight either.

"If a vote of no confidence in the entire government succeeds and the current prime minister is replaced by an interim prime minister in autumn, this political manoeuvring would not prevent [PM Janez] Janša from winning another snap election."

Indeed, it could backfire, says the right-leaning weekly, adding that Janša's party might even secure a landslide victory or its best election result ever due to such tactics, in particular if there is no new political leader on the left.

The future political developments are hard to predict, but it is also difficult to believe that "the relation between the left and the right would turn upside down overnight to the benefit of the latter".

"Janez Janša is not [Croatian Prime Minister] Andrej Plenković, who moved HDZ from the right to the centre and was triumphant in the Croatian general election a week ago."

Whereas Plenković does not need coalition partners due to his landslide victory, Janša probably would, which is an issue for him.

"It is possible to copy political recipes from Hungary, but they will not necessarily have the same impact in Slovenia. [Hungarian Prime Minister] Viktor Orban succeeded in subjugating the dominant media, he turned them into propaganda machinery so that they have helped him stay in power for more than a decade, whereas Janez Janša has always drawn the short straw in the war with the media so far."

Reporter editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla says that Janša's "latest battlefield which he has created using 'blitzkrieg' targeted at Slovenian media" might fail if he does not get support from coalition partners SMC and DeSUS.

All our posts in this series are here

11 Jul 2020, 10:36 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 9 July 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Government communication on coronavirus “dumb”

STA, 10 July 2020 - The left-wing weekly Mladina is critical in Friday's editorial of the government's communication related to the coronavirus situation. Rather than presenting recommendations to the people as for example the German or Austrian government, the Slovenian government is being "rude, disrespectful and simply dumb", says editor-in-chief Grega Repovž.

Not only is the government blaming the people for the situation, making threats and patronising them, its communication is even becoming "extremely harmful".

According to Repovž, the main problem is government spokesperson Jelko Kacin.

His statements about Slovenians not understanding that 50 people means 50, not 50 plus another 50, is sending the message to the people that they are idiots and irresponsible.

"Anyone familiar with the basics of communication knows that such threats may be efficient for a (very) short time, but in the long run they lead only to the loss of credibility and authority of the person making them."

Repovž is particularly bothered by Kacin's statements about young people, describing them as "irresponsible and also a little bit dumb beings".

But the most disturbing according to Repovž was Kacin's statement about picnics he made on Tuesday, when he urged people not to invite "people from other cultural and national environments" to their picnics.

He says "such open xenophobia" should not be allowed.

"Wise governments are building bridges of trust with citizens nowadays, asking them, addressing them as partners, co-citizens, presenting them recommendations. Others have Jelko Kacin as the official spokesperson," Repovž says under the headline Main Pest.

Demokracija: Janša's letter to Šketa not controversial

STA, 9 July 2020 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija argues in its latest editorial that the letter that Prime Minister Janez Janša sent to State Prosecutor General Drago Šketa over the anti-government protests is in no way controversial. What is controversial is the investigation of Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, it says.

Elaborating on the claim about Šketa, editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says that one must distinguish between the justice system and judiciary.

"The justice system is a much broader notion, encompassing state prosecutions, lawyers and notaries; so next to judges also those performing duties related to court activities who definitely are not part of the judicial branch.

"The prosecution thus definitely falls under the executive branch of power, which means that it is autonomous but not independent (as for example justice) or untouchable."

It is clear who is in charge of the executive branch of power, so Janša's letter to Šketa in which he expressed criticism over the passivity of the prosecution in the face of inciting to violence during protests is no interference in the other branch of power but a warning of a superior to an inferior.

"With this letter Janša did not interfere with the prosecutors' independence or conduct political pressure," Biščak argues.

What is controversial, however, is the house searches that were conducted at Minister Počivalšek's home last week and him being placed in custody.

This clearly shows how alive the deep state is and that it is choosing no means in its efforts to bring down the government.

Počivalšek was suspected on misusing public funds in the procurement of protective equipment during the epidemic. But the public funds could not have been misused yet.

He was placed in custody due to the risk of flight but where could he possibly go, Biščak wonders. Another argument was that he might repeat the crime, but where is the guarantee that he will not repeat it after release.

And the third argument was that public broadcaster RTV Slovenija had reported about it. "RTV Slovenija as a key reference for an investigation, are you out of your mind?"

All this can mean only one thing: that the National Bureau of Investigation and the prosecution in cooperation with investigating judge Mojca Kocjančič (former wife of Aleš Zalar and the judge who saved Zoran Janković by excluding key evidence) have come up with a scheme that serves the interests of known political groups.

"Why Počivalšek was picked to be the scapegoat was even publicly stated in the 'official gazette' of the deep state (Mladina): because he is the weakest link on the way to the SDS and Janez Janša. It is hard to imagine a clearer laying out of the principle 'first discrediting then liquidating'", Biščak says under Dear Prosecutors, Are You Serious.

All our posts in this series are here

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