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    Copyright: The following text is for personal information only. Any professional use or publication in written or electronic form is subject to an agreement with AIM, 17 rue Rebeval, F-75019 Paris, France

    SUN, 16 FEB 1997 22:19:12 GMT

    Drnovsek's Government did not pass

    A MANDARIN REVOLUTION IN SLOVENIA

    AIM Ljubljana, 8 February, 1997

    For almost three months now Slovenia has no Government and it seems that it will not get one soon. After the up-to-date Prime Minister Dr.Janez Drnovsek was again appointed Prime Minister designate, with only one vote more in his favour, that one vote disappeared by Thursday evening, when Parliament was voting on Drnovsek's proposal of cabinet ministers. Namely, out of all 90 Parliament deputies, 45 voted in favour of his proposal and the remaining 45 against. Thus, his Government did not get the support, but for the time being it remained a secret who denied him his vote this time, because the voting was secret.

    Let us recall that in negotiations with all seven parties which entered Parliament at November elections, Drnovsek exerted significant effort in order to secure a coalition majority that would guarantee Slovenia stability. Despite all his endeavours he did not succeed, not only due to the uncooperativeness of the block of the so called spring parties (Podobnik's Slovenian Popular Party, Jansa's Socialdemocratic Party of Slovenia and Peterle's Slovenian Christian-Democrats), which insisted on entering the government only as a block, i.e. all three together, or otherwise all three would join the opposition. Together they had 45 deputies in Parliament, same as Drnovsek's Liberal Democrats of Slovenia, The United List of Social Democrats of Janez Kocijancic, the Pensioners' Party of Joze Globacnik and the Slovenian National Party of Zmago Jelincic.

    This total division of Parliament into two blocks was upset by Ciril Pucko, deputy of Christian Democrats who publicly stated his intention "to join the other side" because he supported Drnovsek as future Prime Minister and thought that right wing parties should also take part in the Slovenian Government. In this way he gave his 46th vote to Drnovsek and thus made it possible for him to become Prime Minister designate.

    After Pucko, Pucko

    Three parties on the Slovenian right did their best to find this magic "46th vote", but to no avail. Now they obviously succeeded. When Drnovsek got it in deputy Pucko everyone yelled that Prime Minister designate was elected illegally, that this was the style of the old practice of "neocommunist forces", etc. Now they have resorted to that same "illegitimate and neocommunist practice" and found a dissatisfied, disappointed or, perhaps, simply scared deputy. Consequently, a saying started going around which resembles the old one "After Tito, Tito" which was restyled so as to fit the occasion: "After Pucko, Pucko".

    After Drnovsek's cabinet was not elected, the question remained - what next! According to the Slovenian Constitution and legislation Drnovsek can propose his cabinet two more times. The first deadline is ten days. He can propose the same ministers, he can change some, and what both he and the majority of Slovenes would like most, he can try to persuade one of the "spring" parties to join him in his Government. Judging by all, this will be hardest to achieve and judging by circumstances, seems practically impossible. Although concerning cooperation with Drnovsek there are different views within these three parties, the party discipline of loyalty to one's leaders always prevails in the end. Even more interesting is their mutual obedience.

    Obviously, president of the Slovenian Popular Party Marjan Podobnik is not fully aware that his party won the second place at the elections, right after Drnovsek's LDS, which makes his the second strongest party. For, if he were aware, he wouldn't have behaved as yet another (or maybe original) Janez Jansa, who dictates the overall policy of the so called spring threesome. Drnovsek all the time wished to have Podobnik in his coalition, not Jansa. Namely, before the elections it seemed that the Slovenian Popular Party was a rather moderate party on the Slovenian right with which he, as a representative of the center could easily cooperate. This was proven in Parliament, where his LDS is the strongest party, and which as a token of good will supported the appointment of Janez Podobnik (brother of Marjan Podobnik), from the Popular Party, President of the Parliament.

    It seems that Janez Podobnik is quite a constructive politician. Although it was never confirmed officially, but neither was it denied, Janez Podobnik allegedly burst into tears when the leadership of his party, with his brother Marjan at the head, decided not to join Drnovsek's Government.

    "The Rally of the Truth"

    During the debate on (no)confidence to Drnovsek's Government, spontaneous rallying of people was organized in front of the Parliament building. Officially, the organizer was the so called "Civil Society" organization, which is not much known, but is close to Civil Initiative, a group of people who advocate the toppling of the present government and is sending letters all over the world claiming that neocommunism is in power in Slovenia. They are best known for their anonymous letters, para-intelligence activities and similar. By their political orientation, they are mostly members or sympathizers of Jansa's party, but they are also with Peterle's Christian-Democrats as well as in Podobnik's party.

    The organization "Civil Society" claims that it rallies 14 organizations and associations. About two to three thousand people who gathered shouted slogans such as: "Mass media are lying!", "Pucko if you have balls, vote no!", "Our Government is robbing people" and "Red bandits!". It was this last cry and numerous speeches of right wing parties' deputies that represented an attempt to picture the Slovenian authorities to be the same as those in Belgrade. Anyone versed in the Slovenian circumstances knows full well that this is absurd. Many of the passers-by also showed their impatience with the demonstrators by yelling at them: "Let us live in peace!" That the majority of Slovenes do not share the demonstrators' opinion is also shown by monthly polls of various newspapers on the popularity of politicians in which Milan Kucan, President of the state and Janez Drnovsek, Prime Minister hold a convincing first place, while the two leaders supported by demonstrators are on the fifth place (Jansa), and somewhere at the bottom of the list.

    Demonstrators tried even to forcibly enter the Parliament, but were prevented by the police. The police was unarmed (with only truncheons) and was there for the security reasons only. In any case, the rally was not reported and did not have the police approval, but the police authorities decided not to be sticklers for form and make the already tense situation even worse. Despite this, demonstrators threw eggs and mandarins at the police and Parliament building, which is a novelty at gatherings of this kind. Since mandarins and eggs are not the cheapest food items, these were obviously not the endangered strata of the Slovenian population.

    Janja Klasinc, AIM