We have asked several political commentators to comment on the election of SDS president Janez Janša for Prime Minister. They all agree that this is a positive shift in the Slovenian political space. “So, for starters, we can be moderately optimistic …”
Publicist Andrej Aplenc: “The election of Janez Janša for the Prime Minister is very important for our country, for the following reasons. With the global economic cooldown, also caused by the coronavirus, which will undoubtedly affect Slovenia too, we will have a very capable and experienced Prime Minister, who has already been tested in similar situations, and was successful. With Turkey’s president Erdogan threatening Europe with the release of the refugee invasion, we will have a Prime Minister and a government capable of taking appropriate measures for Slovenia, especially with the Austrian and Hungarian governments announcing a complete border closure. By successfully forming a coalition, Janez Janša has managed to defeat the desperate efforts of the deep state and the renewed communists to demonize and isolate out largest political party. This failure will have lasting consequences for Slovenian politics. It will never be the same, as it used to be.”
Political analyst Mitja Iršič: “The election of Janez Janša for the Prime Minister is the final cutting of the Gordian Knot, set for the Slovenian spring political option by the economic interest groups gathered around left-wing political parties. And at the same time, the cleansing of the liberal middle, which was moving dangerously to the left with Cerar, Šarec, and Erjavec – into the hands of Levica and SD. As of today, both SMC and DeSUS can feel like honest members of the European ALDE; under previous leadership, they would more likely belong to S&D. This should have happened sooner or later after the inertia, as such a state of exclusion was not sustainable in the long run – the implosion of Šarec’s government was the logical consequence. After many years of leftist cartelization, the spirit of cooperation, compromise, and reconciliation is finally part of Slovenian politics again.
In the short run, the election of the mandatary represents the end of political uncertainty in these turbulent times, when there are several dangers threatening at the same time – the pandemic of the coronavirus, outlines of an economic crisis, the financial and operational gaps in the healthcare system, as well as the social care system, left by Marjan Šarec’s government. And in the long run, it represents the hope that we finally have a government that can listen to entrepreneurs, and a statesman who will bring our country back from a third-rate EU country and an unreliable European ally, to the status of a prominent NATO member, the EU, and other Euro-Atlantic alliances.”
Sociologist Matej Makarovič, Ph.D.: “The main question we should ask ourselves at the election of the new Prime Minister is, why only now. Basically, Slovenia will now get the government that clearly expresses the election results of the last National Assembly elections, and on the other hand is likely to be effective in its governing. Instead of the complex combinations of the previous government, which brought together several political parties and still didn’t have the majority, it seems that we will now get a coalition that has enough MPs for a solid majority, but at the same time not too many coalition partners to negotiate effectively.
Compared to the previous government, I think its tone will be much more central – with other words, the forming government will be less right-wing in terms of its policies than the previous government was left-wing. So, for starters, we can be moderately optimistic, but only time will tell what will follow – and very soon, at that. It is worth pointing out how SMC became a more obviously central party by joining the new coalition, and DeSUS has mostly replaced the ideology with a more interest-oriented policy, which has brought the party the most votes in the past. I think that given all the pressures from the dominant discourse, as well as any other pressures, both parties have acted bravely on the one hand, and wisely on the other, as the results of public opinion polls indicate that their participation in the previous coalition clearly did not benefit either of the two, but now they can find their position anew.”
Sociologist Matevž Tomšič Ph.D.: “Given what was happening last week, it was expected that Janez Janša would be elected for the new Prime Minister. He got more than just the votes from the coalition of four parties – SDS, SMC, NSi, and DeSUS, which will form the future, 14th Slovenian government. It is also expected that in about two weeks’ time, the ministerial team will be confirmed, which, judging by the names being mentioned, will be more competent, experienced and operational than the one from the previous government, which was only distributing public funds to various interest groups and to its clientele, to buy their support.
However, the new government’s job will not be easy, as many challenges await it; after all, the new coronavirus is coming, and a new wave of migrants is threatening us from the South. The new Prime Minister Janez Janša’s job will also not be easy, as the coalition of these four parties is very diverse in its world view, and the media environment will not be as favorable to him as it was to the former Prime Minister, Marjan Šarec. But despite all this, I reckon that this government will be able to carry out its mandate to the end. In a way, the election of Janša is also a defeat of the so-called deep state, especially the tough, ideological part, as the more economic-financial part wants effective governing and a more stable business environment for our country above all else.”