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National Party still relying on firebrand rhetoric

Ljubljana, 16 May - The National Party (SNS), a Eurosceptic, nationalist, protectionist and populist party, is relying heavily on anti-migrant rhetoric in its hope to re-enter parliament after a seven-year hiatus. Its founder and leader Zmago Jelinčič Plemeniti prides himself on not mincing words.

Ljubljana
National Party (SNS) president Zmago Jelinčič.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
File photo.

At a congress last year, the SNS unveiled a nine-point programme which states that it stands against elitism of any sort: against "banksters", political speculators, and elites who enjoy special privileges such as the LGBT community and minorities. The party is against multiculturalism and the disappearing of national identities, and against "feminist cliches".

On the other hand, it advocates national and European identity and free individuals who decide for themselves, free management of finances, and appreciating "racial, national, gender and intellectual differences". It stands for a Europe of nations and "in no way for the European Union".

The SNS wants a simpler life with opportunities for work and development, greater freedom, the abolishment of police, judicial and tax repression, "and above all no migrants in the country", the party told the STA.

Its website features a slide show of images with captions like courage, humour and strength, before it ends with a slide depicting a Nosferatu-like figure and a caption Without Migrants, and the party's motto - We Still Dare (for Over a Quarter of a Century).

The party has been known for its populism since it was established by Jelinčič Plemeniti in 1991. It has not shied away from advocating radical positions on delicate issues such as protection of minorities while it was in parliament between 1992 and 2011.

Croatia has always been one of main targets and Jelinčič himself obtained a master's degree from the Belgrade Academy of Diplomacy and Security with a thesis on the border between Slovenia and Croatia. On the other hand, Jelinčič has good standing with the Serbian ethnic community and has actively courted its support.

Jelinčič has always prided himself on saying it like it is. He continues with the practice to this day, addressing people to vote for his party if they have had "enough of this shit".

On the other hand, being an avid collector of various antiques, Jelinčič had his share of run-ins with the law, including for organising a heist of museum weapons from the National Museum in 1975. He was sent to prison for three and a half years.

More recently, a report of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project said Jelinčič, who added Plemeniti (Noble) to his surname in 2001, had received around EUR 25,000 from an Azerbaijani black fund used for bribing European politicians in 2012.

Jelinčič told the newspaper Delo that the money had been the payment for his translation of a Slovenian novel into Russian. The newspaper, however, said there was no evidence that this translation had ever been published.

Moreover, the SNS, and Jelinčič in particular, have been criticised for being awfully quiet in the years between elections and only getting active in the campaign period.

Some believe that this is in fact to secure state funds for the party, because under the law every party that gets at least 1% in the general election is eligible for funds from the budget.

The latest polls give the party around 2%.

nd/sm
© STA, 2018