He’ll be Back
There's a thing, specific to Slovenia’s most recent democratic history: the voters keep turning down the man who wants to lead the country and push for the politicians, who attempt to become prime ministers just by circumstances.
Let’s rewind a decade. There were plenty of reasons why Janez Janša has won in 2004, one of them is that the actual PM Anton Rop has been just a replacement and a pale shadow of the legendary Janez Drnovšek, who has moved away from the party politics to get elected as the President of the Republic.
At the 2008 elections, the motive for supporting Borut Pahor was not so much in making him a Prime Minister, but to vote down Janša’s government. Pahor had no outspoken ambition to become a PM, but as a victorious party leader, he has embraced his destiny. What followed could be gently described as a passionate, vengeful oppositional (and coalition too) beating down of Pahor’s government. Unlike Pahor, who found himself unfit for the shoes of Slovenian PM, Janša has never doubted that he himself is a natural-born leader of Slovenes. Neither do his devoted voters.
Then in the fall 2011, when everyone predicted Janša’s return to power, Zoran Janković jumped into the game. The mayor of Ljubljana had no ambition to enter the state politics either, but as a "benevolent" man he has responded to the call. He said OK, I will run, but I’m only interested in becoming a prime minister. He has won at the polling stations, but was unprepared for the obstacles between the parliamentary gates and the Prime Minister’s seat. The members of parliament have turned down his nomination.
In the meantime another interesting thing has revealed: Pahor’s government, which still manages the ongoing affairs finally got a chance to perform undisturbedly. With Pahor defeated at the elections, he was transformed from a disrespected leader into a disarmed janitor. There’s no reason to oppose him for political prestige anymore. And so, there’s little trouble for him to pass some of “unpopular measures,” including the austerity bill, which the SDS has voted down a few months ago - for what reason exactly?
These days, the undisputable right-wing leader Janša is negotiating his coalition and it all seems the chances of success are good. Once again, the throne is smiling back to him. But let’s not forget that a few weeks ago, he claimed to be interesting only in leading a strong and stable coalition, what is far from what he is getting at the moment. The right-wing satellites New Slovenia and People’s Party indeed pose no problem as far as the loyalty is concerned. Virant’s List may already be a different kind of story, while nobody knows how to guide the Pensioner’s Party across the water of reforms. What Janša faces is a leadership with initially negative popular support, fragile coalition and a minefield he has set to himself by opposing anything the previous government could carry out in the terms of “unpopular” stuff. Needless to say, this is not 2007, when the Euro adoption and expanding economy contributed to a record-breaking 6.1 per cent GDP growth - something what Janša attempts to present as the exclusive magic of his leadership.
And Janković? Even if his entry into the politics was motivated solely by taking the post of prime minister, his recent statements suggest that he wouldn’t turn back, and that he is willing to carry on his career as an oppositional MP. His first encounter with the parliament was rather strange, but Janković can be a very intuitive learner. Besides, the parliamentary refusal made him a victim of intrigues, what has added up to the popularity. Whatever happens, the battle of titans is all but ending: the ground for another round is already prepared.
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