Mladina deems presidential function important, Pahor bad president

Ljubljana – Commenting on the role of president of the republic in Slovenia as the presidential race in the country is accelerating, Mladina says the constitution and social commitment are the only thing that kept outgoing President Borut Pahor from causing havoc and damage with his politically biased choices during his mandates.

The role of president in Slovenia has been submitted to some harsh criticism in the past thirty years, mainly over presidential powers, but after Milan Kučan, Janez Drnovšek, Danilo Türk, and Boris Pahor it is clear that the constitution gives the president just enough power and influence, says the weekly in the editorial titled President of the Republic.

The presidential role gives its bearer enough power that the legislative and executive branches of power have to listen to them during decisive moments.

This becomes clear as day when the president appoints constitutional judges, for example. With their choices, they can influence the country’s ideological and political framework, Mladina notes, adding that this was also the case with Pahor.

Politically weak as president, his opinions and actions had no actual significance in the public’s eye. However, as he was clearly biased to the Democratic Party (SDS) of the former PM Janša and let the party’s misdoings slide for a long time.

The public and the opposition had to work very hard to keep him from “turning the Constitutional Court into a breading ground for Janša supporters.”

During his two terms, Pahor did everything he could to please Janša, from appointing conservative lawyers to top positions, as well as other political vultures, including conservative Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina, who let it slide when the SDS violated human rights on many occasions during his term, as deemed by the the Constitutional Court.

Nevertheless, Slovenian constitution is advanced, even though it was written some 30 years ago, says Mladina. It has, for the most part, prevented the county from falling into a political downward spiral as some other Eastern European and Balkan countries did.

When commenting on the role of president, one must take into consideration that he or she can be a bad and dangerous individual, notes the commentator, citing Pahor as a prime example.

Pahor appointing Borut Štefanec as head of the corruption watchdog undermined the good work to prevent corruption in politics done by Šefanec’s predecessors Goran Klemenčič and Rok Praprotnik.

While Mladina notes Štefanec took office with (partially) good intentions they quickly fizzled out. And the outgoing president did so fully aware of the end results, most likely consorting with Janša, with the previous two watchdogs being a thorn in his side.

So why did Pahor act the way he did? It was because he had foul intentions, so he could cancel out another important state offices, Mladina says.

The president’s role is key, so voters will have to take heed and listen very carefully to pre-election promises the candidates make, because a president can not only be bad, but can also change the country immensely with their calculated acts and ideologically-motivated appointments of state officials, the commentary concludes.