Saturday

17th Nov 2018

Analysis

Slovenia's convicted ex-PM: down but refusing to be out

  • Janez Jansa - an indeliable part of the Slovenian political scene (Photo: consilium.europa.au)

For almost six years Slovenia's internal affairs were overshadowed by the so-called Patria affair in which one of the strongest men, Slovenia’s ex prime minister and the current opposition leader Janez Jansa was recently found guilty.

He was sentenced to two years in prison for taking bribes for his Slovenia Democratic Party (SDS) in 2007 from the Finnish military company Patria that was selling armoured vehicles to Slovenia at the time.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Now that chapter might end as Jansa must finally go to prison.

This week he announced via Twitter that he received an official court order by which he has to report to Dob prison on 20 June.

Nevertheless, he is insisting that the whole case is a plot against him and his party, to prevent their victory in next month’s early elections.

"How can the elections on 13 July be fair, if on 20 June the president of the party will be imprisoned. Who can win them?” he told local radio this week.

At the recent EU elections his party “with the most trustworthy team and the soundest programme,” as he put it, won the elections, getting three of Slovenia’s eight EP seats.

Now, ahead of the elections for the national parliament, Slovenia is in an awkward position: the country’s laws do not regulate for this kind of situation.

It is in theory possible to become a prime minister, even if one is in prison. Jansa can also run for a seat in the parliament despite being in prison.

This has the hallmarks of absurdity. Nevertheless Jansa does not want to step down as a party president, nor does he spell out whether he will run to be an MP.

A year ago he said that he would fight against the Court’s order with all legal and political means.

Throughout he has received strong support from the European People’s Party. Last month EPP leader Joseph Daul, while in Slovenia, said there should be a special EU body set up to supervise the judiciary in member states.

“[The] judiciary has to be under supervision in the same way as acts of the people. Judges have to be under surveillance by an organisation of lawyers and judges which is above them," Daul said.

Jansa and his party in recent years have repeatedly attacked Slovenia’s judiciary with the ex-PM saying a court that finds him innocent should be “created”.

Other political parties, like the Christian Democrats (NSI) or Slovenia’s People’s Party (SLS), are struggling to deal with the situation ahead of national elections.

Their common position is that they would like to cooperate with SDS, but not with Jansa. Leftist parties, on the other hand, feel powerless.

After the EU Parliament elections two coalition party presidents – Igor Luksic of the Social Democrats (S&D) and Gregor Virant of the Civil List (Alde) – resigned due to their respective party's election results.

In recent weeks, three new parties have appeared on the political scene.

One, led by the current centre-left prime minister Alenka Bratusek, is called the Alliance of Alenka Bratusek. The PM has urged the fragmented centre-left parties to reunite.

The second was founded by popular legal professor Miro Cerar and a third one, called "I Believe" was set up by Igor Soltes, who also won a seat in the European Parliament. Soltes wants to promote Slovenia as the “Trade mark for the quality of life”.

Slovenians, on the other hand, are quickly losing interest in politics.

At the EU elections, turnout was 24 percent, higher only than Slovakia and the Czech Republic.To make matters worse, 32 percent of the votes cast went to parties that did not win any seat.

Part of the reason for voters’ disillusion is the economic crisis.

Last year Slovenia was tipped as the next bailout candidate after Cyprus and was facing one of the highest borrowing costs in the eurozone. The other contributor is the dragging-out of the Patria case, which has sapped the country’s ability to look forward.

One of the many surprises at the recent EU elections in Slovenia was the appearance of the “Dream Job” Party. They got 3.5 percent of votes, a lot for a newly-created Facebook organisation whose main programme is to oppose democracy itself.

They did better than the nationalists, greens and even one of the governing coalition’s liberal parties. They call it a socio-political experiment. Arguing that politicians are insincere, the party picked its EU candidates by casting lots.

And this is maybe the best illustration of Slovenians' feelings towards politics today: many are convinced a simple lottery is better that voting.

It is in this bitter and fractured context that Slovenes will go to the urns in a month’s time.

Slovenia in political crisis

Both the ruling coalition party and main opposition party in Slovenia were plunged into disarray over the weekend.

The Slovenian commissioner's letter politics

There is a letter waiting for Alenka Bratusek, the would-be next EU commissioner in charge of energy union. A letter she does not want to pick up from the local post office in Slovenia, close to her home.

Anti-immigrant party wins Slovenia election

Some 25 percent of Slovenians have voted for the anti-immigrant Slovenia Democratic party headed by Janez Jansa, a former PM who spent six months in jail for corruption.

EUobserved

When two worlds collide

Two worlds collided at the end of last week. The shrill, uncompromising one of British politics and the technocratic, dry, world of the European Commission.

EUobserved

Schadenfreude and fire-walking in the EP

There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday. It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us