Review of Domestic Affairs - December 1999 to November 2000

Ljubljana, 9 December - In less than a year Slovenia has changed three governments, two voting systems and one constitutional article. Yet it was parliamentary elections that were the most important despite a number of difficulties and doubts about their legitimacy. The seats in the parliament are now distributed, the new coalition cabinet formed and the country is ready to face new challenges.

The first half of the year saw the united SLS+SKD Slovene People's Party flash the political horizon as a "genuine conservative party ". It seemed that the merger between the SLS and the SKD has paved the way for the emergence of a firm centre-right coalition in the shape of Coalition Slovenia, which apart from the united party also included the SDS. But illusions and hopes were soon dispelled. No sooner had the coalition built a new, yet a caretaker government, then it fell apart after a modified system of proportional representation was set down in the Constitution. It now only consisted of the SDS and the newly-formed non-parliamentary party NSi. After centre-left parties posted success in the October parliamentary elections, a broad coalition was set by the LDS, ZLSD, SLS+SKD and DeSUS, which also formed a government.

The year 2000 saw a number of demands for higher wages made by employees in the public sector. The government's consent to the gradual adjustment of doctors' pays with those of judges unleashed claims for higher salaries among employees in health care and social service, education and research, as well as among civil servants and police.

Either petty or sensational, scandals have become a regular feature of domestic affairs. A state secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs was arrested for taking bribes, while the "bugging device" found at the ministry headquarters proved it was not what it seemed. Bugging equipment was also detected in the Maribor Bishop's Office, but, as it turned out later, it had been probably installed by the former Communist regime and no longer used by incumbent intelligence services. One of the scandals was cooked up by employees of the Defence Ministry Intelligence Office (SOVA); journalists disclosed that Slovene SOVA officials had allegedly collaborated with the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) without a proper warrant and without the official consent by the SOVA chief. Two further scandals were provoked by the theft of the official car of Marjan Podobnik, at the time deputy prime minister, and the appearance by comedian Boris Kobal in a talk-show featuring Croatian President Stipe Mesic, in which he made jokes at the expense of Archbishop Franc Rode.

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© STA, 2000