Confrontation: Government vs. Opposition

(Foto: Nova24TV)

One of the meanings of the word confront is to cause a person to meet with someone in such a way that he or she cannot avoid a conversation or response. Unfortunately, it seems that current prime minister of Slovenia Miro Cerar does not or does not want to understand this since he did not accept the invitation to the show Soočenje vlada : opozicija (Confrontation: Government vs. Opposition), where he would have been confronted by Janez Janša, the champion of the biggest opposition party (Slovenian Democratic Party or SDS), in order to explain and justify the actions of the government using concrete examples.

Since the prime minister failed to honour us with his presence, the show took the form of an interview conducted by the host Boris Tomašič in which president of SDS Janez Janša presented his thoughts and commented on current events. With regards to Cerar’s non-participation, he stressed that Cerar should be aware that there is no democracy without an opposition and that there is also no liberty and democracy if the work of those who are in power is not public. “In short, both are important, and voters cannot make a mature decision unless they’re informed and aware of alternatives. If they’re only aware of one side, we’ll be back to the situation from before 1990.”

Government communicates with public through money
It is glaringly obvious that Cerar operates through PR firms since we rarely ever see him. Janša commented that this government operates in the manner that got it elected, i.e. it communicates with the public through money used for advertising purposes. “The job of the government really isn’t hard, since most members of the Slovenian media, which are paid for voluntarily or forcibly, for example the national broadcaster RTV, engage in journalistic prostitution, and consequently democracy in Slovenia suffers.”

PR and populist measures in foreground
In his assessment of the government, Janez Janša pointed out that the government is acting in line with how it obtained its mandate, i.e. illegitimately. This government would not exist if it were not for the stolen elections and staged Patria proceedings as well as everything that followed. “The bad conscience within government parties is great and obvious, but despite the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia concerning the mandate and Patria, nobody apologises, and many prefer to look at the ground and pretend nothing has happened.” He underlined his conviction that those who win an election fairly exude this self-confidence in their actions and are capable of acknowledging their mistakes. But if this self-confidence is not there, it is necessary to hide behind PR and populist measures, such as the events of 2 January and the act concerning Mercator.

“No truly serious acts have been introduced in the past three years, but there have been acts like the act for the disposal of the best agricultural land to build a paint shop of the Austrian corporation Magna Steyr, which wasn’t allowed to be build in Graz for environmental reasons, but there were no such issues in Slovenia.” According to Janša, this is a case of obvious misleading by the government and excessive rashness. The original promise was that it would create around 3,000 new jobs in manufacturing, development, and laboratories in Slovenia, but now they have supposedly decided to only build the paint shop.

In healthcare, they have only prepared an awful mess of an act

The healthcare reform represents the only concrete pre-election promise, and in three years they have created an awful mess of an act, which does not provide better services and shorter waiting times, but a more and more expensive healthcare for all taxpayers. “It’s not a reform but an increase in service prices,” said Janša and added that the situation in healthcare is especially critical since people are dying daily because matters are not organised properly, and not because there is no money. For this reason, the responsibility of the government is enormous.

According to Janša, the search for positive trends with regards to the work of the government should move towards a reiteration of the government PR, i.e. the emphasising of economic growth and new jobs. It must be stressed that many people are being employed in the public sector since in the past months the government has been opening new embassies around the world, most of which we do not even need. “The idea is for some of their officials to get well-paid jobs abroad before the collapse. New agencies and institutions are being established as well; we’ve even gotten a government department for migrants.” This puts more pressure on citizens and taxpayers.

Government productive in introducing regulations
The government is productive in one regard – introducing regulations. “No previous government has introduced so many unreasonable rules, professional guidelines, regulations, executive regulations, and secret acts within the criminal police.” Examples of this are: the registration of motorised bicycles, fiscal cash registers, and “voucher” based work, which is having adverse effects. According to Janša, it must be pointed out that the economic growth is a result of the cut in excessive spending with the adoption of the Fiscal Balance Act (ZUJF) and the stabilisation of the situation in the euro area.

Slovenia has the largest bureaucratisation

“While preparing materials for the extraordinary session during which the government was to be provided with proposals for removing bureaucratic obstacles that restrict citizens, entrepreneurs, and farmers, we obtained some horrifying data.” After two decades of parliamentary democracy, Slovenia now has 20,000 acts and executive regulations at government level. For comparison: in 1991, the number was at 800. “There is an act or executive regulation at state level for every 100 citizens,” Janša pointed out and added that if thousands of municipal local regulations are added to this, it becomes impossible to know all of them. “There are 4,000 regulations for farmers alone. Who in their right mind can handle that?”

“There isn’t one full professor at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana who could know all acts and executive regulations, so an ordinary citizen can’t be expected to either.” According to Janša, this is terrifying and does not happen by accident. However, some chaos is involved as well since less and less capable people are responsible for the bureaucracy. “The more rules there are, the greater is the confusion amongst people.” Because people do not know anymore what they are violating when they enter a forest. There is no other country in the world that would have a government regulation, act, or executive regulation for every 100 citizens. There are many costs and fees and according to Janša people are being held at bay; before we had a rule of a party, but now we have a rule of bureaucracy and regulations. Since Roman law the adage has applied that more regulations mean less democracy as a greater number of laws constitute a greater restriction of liberty.

“Once it took 2–3 months to establish a company, but now this can be arranged very quickly. But things come to a standstill when trying to conduct the business, for if someone wants to build a hall, they are confronted with unbelievably long procedures so that even the birds stop nesting, before matters are concluded.” Janša recalled the urgency for constructing a bypass past Škofljica, which is not moving anywhere due to a butterfly and bureaucracy. “We face this chaos in Slovenia because we’re governed by a party of bureaucracy. Such a system gives the impression of everyone having the feeling that they’ve committed some offence.” Janša also added that there are many trivial offences in Slovenia that do not jeopardise anyone’s life, but the penalties are 3 times higher than comparable penalties in Europe with the purpose of earning as much as possible with fines. “In SDS we’ve listed more than 80 obstacles which can be removed to ensure the normal operation of everything.”

In the case of the second track, Cerar complies with Kučan’s requests like a puppet
Janša also commented on the developments regarding the second track, which has justifiably been raising many doubts due to its high cost, and added that Milan Kučan had stated at Forum 21 that the government will collapse if the project does not materialise since it represents a strategic national interest. According to Janša, Cerar complies with Kučan’s requests like a puppet. “Slovenia is still paying off the construction of the first track, which was built in the sixties with the help of international loans. But the fact is that, with the increase in logistics and freight transport, the port needs a third pier and a better connection with the Port of Koper.” He said that in the time of their mandate the building of the second track along the optimal terrace had been planned and that the excavated material would have been used for the third pier, the island in front of Izola. But of course the people behind the construction lobby, together with those behind Forum 21, sensed an opportunity to earn money. They intend to transport the excavated material to a landfill for €200 million out of the state budget instead of transporting it to the spot where the construction of the third pier would take place, and when the construction begins, they will again charge an arm and a leg for the transport.

Given the expensiveness of the project and the expensive studies that have been conducted in relation to the second track, Janša drew attention to the citizen Vili Kovačič, who is collecting signatures to prevent the robbing of Slovenian taxpayers, and calls on everyone who does not agree with such a price to provide a signature: “If we don’t contribute our signatures, we deserve to continue being fleeced.” According to Janša, the price is carried on the shoulders of citizens, but the media do not draw attention to this since they serve the lobbies. Delo represents a typical example, its owner also being an owner of the Kolektor company, which hopes to receive business with the construction of the second track, so it is not surprising that the newspaper publishes surveys about the Slovenian public supporting the construction.

There are some serious offenders in top positions
Janša also mentioned the field of judiciary and commented that people who violate human rights should be chased away so that the system can be cleaned up. Spineless individuals who do what they are told are selected for important cases. If there were experienced, honest judges at the higher levels, people committed to their profession and not to lobbies, cases such as Novič’s case would not be marked by so many problems. “The higher on the pyramid you go, the more serious are the offenders you find – violators of human rights, destroyers of lives; they’d also condemned people to death in the former regime, so they deserve contempt.” He noted that if justice is dispensed in the name of the people, it would be proper to ensure that it is made public. “With regards to the judiciary, the solution doesn’t lie in a reform but in a new judiciary.”

Janša pointed out that hardly a week goes by without an official or director threatening Slovenian taxpayers, but at the same time we are hearing that everything is flourishing. A logical consequence would be less of a burden for taxpayers, not more. “It’s full of absurdities, but this is possible because decisive positions are held by offenders, who are very obedient for this very reason.” He provided the example of Klemenčič, who had failed as a project auditor in the case of Katarina Kresal’s NPU with regards to the drastic rent, since he had been the supervisor of the project appointed by the government. Later he had become the head of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (CPC), which prosecutes this matter, and now he is the minister of justice, despite the fact that the Court of Auditors, the Constitutional Court, and the Supreme Court of Slovenia have found that his actions were illegal, unconstitutional, and directed against taxpayers. “He even had anti-eavesdropping doors installed at CPC for €30,000,” Janša said and added that such people are the most suitable for key functions while their relatives build mansions and receive grants.

Slovenia has an uncoordinated foreign policy
Everyone knows that Slovenia has a very uncoordinated foreign policy, which Janša substantiated with an information regarding the visit of the president of Poland, adding that it is ridiculous for the president of the National Assembly of Slovenia to travel to Poland the next day. He pointed out that Slovenia has lost a lot of reputation because of the failed candidacies of Danilo Türk for the United Nations secretary general, Nina Betteto for the European Court of Human Rights, and Janez Kocijančič for international sports forums. He noted that the fate of the EU really does not depend on Slovenia, but we can help with its consolidation since it ultimately represents our strategic interest. “But the fact is that the EU will not collapse just because of Slovenia; key things are happening in France and will happen in Germany in September. Slovenian politicians would urgently need to prepare for all possible scenarios, which doesn’t seem to be happening.”

We are witnessing chaotic recruitment
According to Janša, a chaotic situation also exists in the management of state assets. “Regarding the personnel that are being appointed to leading positions in companies worth billions, one wonders whether they’re fooling around or whether there truly is a recruitment crisis within the transitional left.” He recalled the time of the reign of the liberal democracy under Anton Rop, when the latter went play tennis with someone and the next day this person was placed in some supervisory board or management board of a state enterprise. There is also a well-known conversation between Rop and Jankovič, when the former told the latter: “You were placed at the head of Mercator politically, I put you there.” “The situation from the years 2002–2004 is repeating itself, and we can see in the cases of Telekom, SDH, and the second track that there is an even greater confusion. One can only wonder where they’re getting these people.”

You can judge for yourself whether Cerar is a sovereign prime minister, Janša said and added that if the assembled Patria proceedings had never happened, he would still be teaching about ethics and morality. Through Miro Cerar the base recruits people in significant ways; it is not so much about the old and the new left, because it recruits those that have been selected in some rural tourism. You can read a lot about this in the book of Kučan’s long-time adviser Zdenko Roter: Padle maske (Dropped Masks), where it is possible to read how it was decided who will be the president of the republic, the Ljubljana major, or the editor. “It’s truly worth reading it; it’s not so much a theory of conspiracy as conspiracy in practice.”

A lot depends on the next elections
Janša warned that it is not so bad that it could not be worse and added that a lot depends on the next elections. “Will we approach the French with regards to voter participation (80%), considering that the last election had a participation of 50%? The most disappointing thing is that, based on the last elections, 50% of people have lost hope that anything can be changed, and this creates the possibility for further theft in advance.” Among other things, he said that elections will be held next year at the latest, but that the question is whether people will wake up or not. There are alternatives since Slovenia has a large potential for development that has not been utilised, but we are importing migrants while ten thousand educated young people have left together with their rich knowledge and entrepreneurial potential. Instead of having the Slovenian taxpayers pay almost €2,000 a month for migrants, this money could be invested in the removal of bureaucratic obstacles and Slovenia would flourish. “This is possible, but only with a change in policy.”

With regards to recent reports on suits concerning the seizure of assets with an illegal origin he commented that if it were true that illegally acquired assets were found, there would have been a reaction a long time ago. “It’s merely the 170th case of discrediting in which they involve the para-state or public authorities.” He stressed that he had explained his assets more often than all other politicians together. “Before the elections in 2011, all contracts on the basis of which I’d bought properties and an accurate calculation of all earnings and royalties were made publicly available, but people still pretend ignorance.”

He pointed out that it would be proper for investigations to also explore the more distant past in order to find out where the paintings of Slovenian expressionists are hanging, how much someone had paid for a house in Murgle, where the money from the first robbery of the Slovenian banking system had gone, and who had stolen from Slovenian workers. “In the case of an investigation that extended to 1945, Slovenia would receive hundreds of millions of euros in illegal assets.” In conclusion he added that he will follow three steps if he is elected to the position of prime minister: drain the swamp, drain the swamp, drain the swamp.

N.Ž.