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Tanja Starič Foto: MMC RTV SLO/ Miloš Ojdanić

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The unknowns of the number thirteen

A column by Tanja Starič
14. September 2018 ob 12:54
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

The formation of Slovenia’s 13th government in the parliament ended without any surprises. This concluded three months of negotiations, which were full of ups and downs, and among which it was often said that there are going to be new elections in the autumn.

The government without a majority in the parliament, which is starting its term today, predicts that they don’t count on 100 days of peace. If they had forgotten about it, Braminir Štrukelj reminded them last night, when he said that Sviz canceled the strike one hour after the ministers took an oath.

Doubts about Marjan Šarec and his team, before it was even elected, are also the biggest advantage of the new government. If citizens of Slovenia have put in Miro Cerar, as the most convincing winner in the history of parliamentary elections, too many unrealistic expectations, Šarec doesn’t have such problems. Due to the negative predictions, it seems that any achievement of this government will be a surprise for the majority of the sceptical public and stakeholders.

The new government will, also due to its own connections, stand and fall mainly because of the health care changes. It is less noticeable, that the fate of Šarec and his team is connected to the European and global geopolitics. There is a threat of a new economic crisis. The wave of the previous one has washed away the traditional politics, and the consequences would be no less destructive. Another unknown is the rise of populism and extreme politics. The European elections start in the spring and the alliance of parties of Orban’s non-liberal democracy is planning on winning. A different political geography of Europe would sooner or later change the relations of forces in Slovenia.

However, the biggest unknown of the new government is, in fact, its president. He has not made any major mistakes so far, and he even surprised us with the fact that he managed to form a government. This is the moment of truth. The threat of early elections does not exist anymore, because Šarec is in a quite solid position right now. He will only use this position if he succeeds in mastering coalition friction and if his empty promises show any content core. If they don’t, he will be struggling for years of new disappointments. And the alternative that we know (too) well.

Tanja Starič, Radio Slovenija; translated by K. Sm.
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