The Slovenia Times

Public given tool to look for links between politicians

Zvezoskop, an interactive visualisation tool showing links between active politicians. Photo: Oštro website

A Slovenian investigative journalism non-profit has developed an interactive visualisation tool that enables the public to find out about the career paths of active ministers, state secretaries and members of parliament and see how they link to each other. The tool is expected to help voters make informed decisions and journalists and NGOs to do independent research.

Launching its Zvezoskop (Linkscope) tool on 20 February, Oštro noted that in Slovenia, a small nation of two million, there is a widespread belief that personal relationships and loyalty are more important than competences when it comes to staffing decisions.

The non-profit, which covers the Adriatic region, believes that this undermines people's trust in the government and the National Assembly.

For this reason, Oštro set out to provide credible and verified data on the career paths of political officials, from where they studied to their current posts, their previous posts or roles in other organisations, institutions or companies, and their mutual connections.

Users can also independently explore data on membership in political parties and other interest groups of political officials, and it is also possible to see how the current career path of an official connects with that of other officials.

Available in Slovenian and English, the tool shows, for example, that Prime Minister Robert Golob and Higher Education Minister Igor Papič studied or worked at the Ljubljana Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the same time for more than 30 years.

Papič stayed in academia until being appointed to his current ministerial post last year, while Golob first entered politics in 1998 and two years later he entered business.

Oštro says the tool thus helps voters make informed decisions, while for journalists, NGOs, members of academia and other researchers it can be a working tool when conducting independent research of political career paths and networks.

The head of the project, Klara Škrinjar, told the Slovenian Press Agency that one of the motivating factors was the fact that a large number of the current MPs are newcomers.

"In our estimates, 40% of them were not in a similar post or in any political post before the general election in April 2022, so we were interested in who these people who became state secretaries, MPs or members of the government are," she said.

The Oštro team collected and analysed data on the career paths of 160 political officials. The data has been collected from publicly accessible CVs, in addition to the centre's own investigative journalist work.

The collected data has been analysed by Anuška Ferligoj, a professor of statistics at the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences, and Vladimir Batagelj, a professor at the Ljubljana Faculty of Mathematics and Physics.

They assessed that the data collected and checked by Oštro is objective enough to establish connections between officials.

"It is more than obvious that those who cooperated a lot in the past are also in political contact now," Oštro summarised comments by professor Ferligoj.


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