Saturday

25th Feb 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

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.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin the Rare Disease Day and Help to Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  2. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  4. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  5. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  6. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"
  7. CISPECloud Computing Leaders Establish Data Protection Standards to Protect Customer Data
  8. Malta EU 2017Landmark Deal Reached With European Parliament on Portability of Online Content
  9. Belgrade Security ForumBSF 2017: Building a Common Future in the Age of Uncertainty
  10. CESIEU Not to Revise the Working Time Directive
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAzerbaijan: 76 NGOs Urge the EU to Use President's Visit to Insist on Human Rights Reforms
  12. UNICEFDeadliest Winter for Migrant Children Crossing the Central Mediterranean