Slovenian officials condemn events in Washington, DC

Ljubljana – Senior Slovenian officials condemned the storming on Wednesday of the US Capitol building, with President Borut Pahor describing it as an “attack on the symbol of US democracy” and Prime Minister Janez Janša expressing hope that the US democracy would overcome the crisis.

“I condemn the attack on the symbol of American democracy. I condemn every form of violence,” President Pahor wrote in a written statement on Thursday.

“Politicians must be aware of the consequences of our actions with full responsibility. We must be unitive and not disruptive. We must encourage tolerance, not hatred,” added Pahor.

“I trust in democracy and emphasize the importance of firmness of its institutions, including elections as a foundation of democracy,” said Pahor, expressing his condolences to the leaders of both houses of Congress and the relatives of the victims of yesterday’s violence.

He is confident “the strength and vitality of American democracy will overcome these challenges as well”. He called for a peaceful transfer of power to President elect Joe Biden, who he expects will “reunite what is now a deeply divided America”.

Responding to the developments already last night, PM Janša said “all should be very troubled by the violence taking place in Washington D.C.”.

“We hope American democracy is resilient, deeply rooted and will overcome this crisis. Democracy presupposes peaceful protest, but violence and death threats – from Left or Right – are ALWAYS wrong,” he wrote on Twitter in English.

Today, Foreign Ministry described the developments as shocking. “This was an unacceptable attack on the pillar of American democracy, institutions and rule of law,” the ministry said in a written statement.

“Peaceful assembly is legitimate in democratic societies, while any violence or incitement to violence is abject. We deeply regret the loss of lives,” said the ministry, calling for dialogue.

Calling the US a friendly nation and ally, the ministry said the US had a long and strong tradition of democracy and US Congress certified Joe Biden’s election victory regardless of the violence.

“We are confident that the transition of power and the search for answers to broader social challenges will proceed with full adherence to the high democratic principles,” the ministry said, adding it was looking forward to cooperating with the new US administration and resuming strategic cooperation at all levels.

Last night, parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič described the events in Washington on Twitter as “a shameful attack on democracy that calls for a timely transition of power to the democratically elected president.”

Today, he said the events were a lesson for “all of us, for politicians in Europe, including in Slovenia” on how vulnerable democracy was when a political rival was viewed not as a political rival but as a political enemy.

“The main message that we have received through media is that politicians must primarily be aware of the weight of our words. It is more than obvious that the events had been encouraged by words of Donald Trump, who obviously does not want to admit election defeat. What happened after that is inexcusable,” he said in a statement in parliament.

A fellow party member, Monika Gregorčič, speaking as the chair of the Foreign Policy Committee for the STA today, described the scenes seen in the US as an attack on the foundations of democracy.

She expressed concern as the idea at the root of democracy was being undermined in the “cradle of democracy”, hoping for a peaceful transition of power to the president elect.

Defence Minister Matej Tonin, writing on Twitter in English yesterday, said images coming from the US were “deeply worrying.”

“Such events pose threat to core values in all democratic world. Each country which is founded on the rule of law must respect this principle. I firmly believe President-Elect [Joe Bidenf] can restore faith in the democratic process.”

Several Slovenian members of the European Parliament also commented on the events on Twitter.

Ljudmila Novak (NSi/EPP) said President Donald Trump’s were “dangerous”, with the events showing that it is important what people say in public.

Milan Brglez (SD/S&D) said the events were “unworthy of a democratic state” and Tanja Fajon (SD/S&D) said the attack on the US Capitol was “an attack on democracy”.

Klemen Grošelj (LMŠ/Renew) said this was the consequence of the policies of “a man whom only our prime minister congratulated on a win that he did not achieve”.