Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Slovenia Intelligence Report, April 26th 2022

The victor of the 2022 elections is the Svoboda party. This newly formed party is trying to position itself as liberal. Still, because its corpus is predominately socialist and it owes its success to left-wing media and far-left NGOs, it is not likely to support liberal causes.

It will probably be another serial ALDE in name only member from Slovenia, populated by anti-market demagogues from trade unions, state-financed NGOs and the public sector.

Without insight into the last three elections, this unusual Slovenian political situation is hard to understand. Each time the same informal group of influential people established an entirely new political party weeks before the elections. In 2011 the winner was Mr Zoran Jankovic with a new party called Positive Slovenia. In 2014 the winner was Mr Miro Cerar, with a new party named the Party of Miro Cerar. In 2018 the projected winner was Mr Marjan Sarec with a new Party called the Party of Marjan Sarec. He lost at the finish line but still formed a minority government. Finally, in 2022, Mr Robert Golob, with a new party Svoboda, won the elections for the fourth time.

All four newly conjured parties were anti-market, interventionist, pro-Russian, and deeply socialist. However, they insisted on joining ALDE. They have established a network inside this group and avoid the ALDE due diligence process by "passing the doorknob". 

And they always form a coalition government with the PES parties. Hence by forming new ALDE-PES governments every time they portray the Theresienstadt of political normality to the European Union public.

But a bit less ordinary, knowing that the same left-wing coalitions have governed Slovenia 70 out of the past 77 years.
The Svoboda party's first and most important priority is to take over the public broadcaster and eliminate any criticism and difference of opinions. Svoboda inherited an informal alliance with Slovenia's two largest private media networks: the ProPlus Pop TV and the media empire of oligarch Martin Odlazek, from previous parties, created in the same manner.
Svoboda already controls a much larger share of the media market than, for example, Victor Orban in Hungary or Aleksandar Vučić in Serbia. But,  unlike in the first two cases, due to informal nature of their media control and lobbying by PES and ALDE/Renew, this media concentration is not considered problematic.
They will likely replace the seventeen years old laws regulating public broadcasting to be able to change its leadership and nominate its candidates. They will hide their intentions by choosing from a group of carefully selected politically controlled and state-sponsored NGOs.

The second priority will be the payback package for their supporters. They will roll back laws from the previous mandate that were an attempt to deregulate the economy. For example, a former Yandex manager and, interestingly enough, the president of the taxi driver union with close connections to Serbia and Russia organised a free taxi service for their voters on election day. And in return, the Svoboda party will roll back regulations and ban UBER in Slovenia.

The third and last short term priority
will be to amend the Recovery Plan for Europe to channel EU funds away from current programs and to Svoboda supporters.

As a mildly pro-Russian party, they will try to bow out of support for Ukraine, abandon the plan to send M-84 tanks, seek allies to soften the sanctions, and promote the dialogue with Moscow. But as their primary short term focus is to amend the Recovery Plan for Europe, they can realistically be pressured into compromises.