The Slovenia Times

Rally urging SMC and DeSUS to keep their promises


The protest started at the SMC headquarters before moving on to the headquarters of DeSUS. The protesters believe that both parties have gone back on their promises given ahead of the 2018 election by signing the coalition agreement with the Democrats (SDS) this week.

The protest was held under the slogan Without Fear: Rally Against the Coalition of Hate. The organisers aimed to highlight the broken promises as well as warned politicians that SDS actions were completely unacceptable.

More than thousand people - 3,000, according to the organisers - gathered to deliver the message, holding posters calling for a legitimate Slovenian government and accusing centre-left parties of "collaboration" with the right, as well as proclaiming DeSUS and SMC "the gravediggers of democracy".

The posters also showed messages of love and peace, with protesters holding heart-shaped balloons and waving rainbow flags.

They also addressed a letter to politicians, telling them they had been elected to benefit Slovenia and that it was up to them whether Slovenia would get "a government which is part of Orban's alliance". "The entire Europe distances itself from this alliance," the letter read, adding that "a voice for the new coalition is a voice for extreme circumstances".

The MPs have the last chance to vote as they promised in 2018 next week when it becomes clear whether SDS leader Janez Janša would lead the new coalition, the speakers told the rally.

The SMC replied to the developments on Twitter, saying that the party supported the protesters in their efforts to strengthen democratic standards, but highlighted the importance of respectful and inclusive dialogue. The SMC also said that the actual target of the protest should be outgoing Prime Minister Marjan Šarec.

Meanwhile, DeSUS responded by telling the STA that the party was joining the new coalition to look in the future and continue its efforts, most notably those tackling the issues of the elderly. It also deemed every peaceful protest legitimate.

The rally has sparked off a plethora of reactions elsewhere as well, both in the political arena and civil society - the Left expressed support for the rally, deeming it "the last call for the SMC and DeSUS not to break their promises in the name of political opportunism".

Meanwhile, Jernej Pavlič, secretary-general of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), said that protesting before the new government was even formed was "very inappropriate". Every government, no matter left or right, deserves hundred days of peace to start working, he added.

He was also critical of the Left, saying that the party, protesting and wanting a snap election, would then again remain in the opposition and "not enter either a left or right government".

Political pummelling on the left wing continued when Social Democrats (SD) leader Dejan Židan said that the likely new coalition was a result of the actions by the Left and Šarec.

The Left replied by saying that such a development had been enabled by opportunism and lack of principles by Šarec's coalition parties alone.

Židan also said that no one should threaten protesters or MPs, probably alluding to a threat against rally participants posted on the social media which was then retweeted by SDS MP Zvonko Černač, who is rumoured to be tipped for interior minister.

Ahead of the protest, the Alternativna Akademija NGO urged SMC and DeSUS MPs to rethink whether they truly wanted to entrust the future of Slovenia into the hands of a party "which does nothing to hide its true face ahead of being elected and is openly flirting with totalitarianism".

Moreover, a group of scholars who have recently warned against the potential Janša-led government said today that the number of its members had increased to 147 scholars. The 74 who were the initial signatories wrote in a letter that the SDS was unacceptable because its authoritarian and nationalist populist traits presented a great danger to democratic culture and political processes in the country.

Janša responded to the rally in his usual way - by posting a tweet, a photo depicting a protest poster against his policies at the national broadcaster RTV Slovenija programme council from years ago. He commented that "this case surely meant an expression of love" for TV licence payers.


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