The Slovenia Times

Govt under no pressure due to low expectations, robust economy


However, Tanja Starič, a presenter at public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, and Rok Čakš, Domovina news portal editor, believe healthcare could prove a real test for the government.

"Šarec's government is practically under no pressure to implement any reforms, perhaps the only exception is the public health system, being on the verge of collapse despite a billion more in revenue," Čakš says.

Similarly, Starič believes healthcare will be do or die of Šarec's minority government even if the economy remains stable.

Although it has only slightly more than a year to reform this sector, it remains to be seen if it musters the political will for action, she says.

Both analysts believe that since people are now relatively happy with their lives, nobody wants a new political crisis or elections.

Politics and people are tired of elections and political crises, says Starič, although she notes that opinion polls can be misleading, stressing elections are the only proper public opinion poll.

At a time of economic stability, the government could afford to raise the minimum wage and public sector pay, and increase the funds allocated to the most severely underfunded ministries.

She believes Šarec is aware his government will enjoy strong support as long as the economic situation is favourable, which he indicated when "he mentioned the German economy is cooling and we should be ready for it".

Given how the government has performed so far, Čakš is sceptical it would have mechanisms in place to deal with a serious crisis, should it emerge.

He says this government has done practically nothing for the current good economic situation, but at a time of "fat cows" people tend to be less critical of the authorities and do not expect change, and this mindset suits Šarec's government.

Čakš sees Šarec as a very pragmatic politician, and he knows how to sell it to people.

He says that to secure a majority in parliament, he was willing to sign anything, but it has become clear these were false promises.

"People don't punish him for being unprincipled, as they perceive him, also because of the help from the media, as a man of sound judgement."

His first victim was the fellow-coalition Alenka Bratušek Party, while he is now targeting the opposition Left, which supports his government.

Čakš says the Left was serious about its cooperation with the government, but since the majority of the agreed projects have not been implemented, it is now frustrated.

Still, it can no longer threaten an early election, risking to lose a lot, especially after fairing rather poorly in May's EU vote, he says.

"Whichever coalition or partner party toppled the government in this situation, would pay a very high price in the elections, if not fatal."

Should an early election be held, Šarec would do best. He is "in a win-win situation" as long as there is no new economic crisis, according to Čakš.

Starič believes Šarec can use to his advantage all the differences in the difficult coalition, since his LMŠ would probably be the only party to make gains in an election.

Neither Starič nor Čakš expects any political upheaval this autumn when Šarec plans to tie a vote of confidence to the crucial 2020 and 2021 budget bills in parliament.

Starič believes the prime minister is very likely to survive the vote, with Čakš adding he would probably only further consolidate his position.


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