Summer's Hot Spot
When the latest opinion polls were published at the beginning of June, they painted a gloomy picture for the government. The Politbarometer survey carried out by the Public Opinion and Mass Media Research Centre from the Faculty of Social Sciences revealed that the government's approval rating has dropped to its lowest point since the question was first asked in 2001. The opposition Social Democrats (SD), meanwhile, remain the most popular party, while their leader, Borut Pahor, tops the class when it comes to presidential hopefuls. Only 36% of respondents said they supported the government, while some 51% disapproved of its work. Among the parliamentary parties, the SD received 20% backing, followed by the ruling Slovenian Democrats (SDS) with 18%. In the last poll, which was carried out in March, both parties were supported by 19% of those questioned. The respondents were also asked if the country was in better or worse condition than it was before the 2004 parliamentary elections; 55% of those questioned said it was worse. While a number of surveys published by the daily newspaper, Delo, produced slightly different results, the trends remained the same... support for the current government is falling.
The Assembly for the Republic, an association of right-leaning thinkers, recently examined Slovenia's 'state of mind' and democracy. Speakers from the panel said Slovenia is not relaxed enough and hailed the late dissident Jože Pučnik as a model of democracy and welcomed the government's decision to name Ljubljana's international airport after him. Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel told the event: "Although the members of the assembly believe we are not relaxed enough and the left thinks we are no longer relaxed, there is general agreement that we need to be more relaxed."
Meanwhile, the reshuffling of the opposition parties continues. At a recently held panel discussion entitled "Values of New Politics", the left-leaning think-tank-cum-aspiring-political-party Zares (For Real) discussed its future manifesto, while focusing on the current political crisis in Slovenia. The participants, including six former members of the opposition Liberal Democrats (LDS), warned of state interference in the public sector and said the Slovenian government was not dealing with right issues.
Sealed with a diss
Former state secretary, Andrijana Starina Kosem, the newly appointed chief supervisor at Delo who was also recently dismissed from the state-run KAD fund supervisory board, sent a letter to several opposition leaders as well as deputies of the ruling Slovenian Democrats (SDS) in which she accused the government of trying to influence the media. The letter, in which Starina Kosem accused her former cabinet colleagues of exerting pressure on Delo chairman Danilo Slivnik and the prime minister, Janez Janša, of trying to sell Delo's main rival - Večer - to the Austrians, was leaked to the media. This prompted a sharp response from, above all, opposition parties. They said the letter revealed the true face of the government and called on Janša to meet them and clarify the issue. The PM and his ruling Slovenian Democrats (SDS) dismissed the accusations and said they were completely at odds with common sense. While the opposition rounded on the government, the cabinet said the PM would only be taking questions as part of a parliamentary session.
This is just one of many affairs shaking the current political ground; and despite calls for more reasoned thought, we are likely to be in for a long, hot political summer. To be continued!