Slovenia: Conflict between government and opposition is heating up

Slovenia: Conflict between government and opposition is heating up

After several months of peaceful and “bicycle protests”, a stronger political conflict broke out in Slovenia between the ruling parties, led by Janez Janša’s SDS, and the united opposition. The altercation culminated in recent violent protests in Ljubljana but did not spread to other cities. Police used rubber bullets and water cannons during their intervention, with the opposition making claims of excessive use of force.

The dispute between the ruling and the opposition parties continued on a political level, with the opposition initiating the signing of a petition to hold a referendum against the government’s Law on Financing the Armed Forces of Slovenia. Janša himself reacted to the collection of signatures, accusing the opposition of sabotaging the Slovenian Army, and the Social Democrats of organizing the “Anonymous” movement, which choreographed the demonstrations.

Branko Grims, Chairman of the Committee on Internal Affairs of the Slovenian Parliament (SDS-Janez Janša), exacerbated tensions by filing criminal charges against Left MP Miha Kordiš for statements he made following the behind-closed-doors session of the Committee last week. “These are data of Sova (Intelligence and Security Agency of Slovenia), so there are suspicions of leakage of confidential data and abuse of official power”, said Grims.

He said in the Assembly today that Sova director Janez Stušek stated during the meeting that the agency had been monitoring the events, but he could not reveal any information as it was classified. “Therefore, part of the session was additionally closed to the public by the decision on the already private part of the session, and was held in the basement of the National Assembly, which is intended for discussions on confidential data”, Grims explained.

After the private part of the session, MP Kordiš told the media, according to Grims, that Sova’s information was slowly leaking to the MPs, explicitly referring to the information of the Slovenian intelligence services.

As Kordiš stated at the time, it is possible to conclude from publicly available information that the police and the political leadership knew what kind of protest was being organized and the escalation of violence “could have been prevented at many points”. Instead, they used repressive means, which should suit the political leadership or Prime Minister Janez Janša and his circle of associates. According to the Left MP, “extreme right-wing groups with historically proven ties to the SDS party” are also connected to the event.

Sova sharply denied the interpretations of the MPs of the Left, saying that they were untrue and incorrect, and did not reflect the real situation.

Immediately after the MPs’ statements, Grims warned the public that Kordiš does not have the authority to make public statements regarding issues discussed at a behind-closed-doors committee meeting. As he explained today, he himself refused to issue a statement following the closed session. “It is about the attitude towards the protection of confidential data and its manipulation. The misuse of confidential data also constitutes a case of abuse of the latter. In addition, in such a case, it is also an abuse of one’s official position”, Grims warned.

He claimed that Sova reacted immediately and announced that they justifiably expect the secret data of the agency to be legally and responsibly handled by all those who are exposed to them during their duties, aware of the harmful consequences of their abuse for the narrow interests of individuals or groups.

In a statement for the media in the National Assembly, Kordiš responded and argued that Grims, with his fairy tales, diverts attention from the problems in the country because “the government of Janez Janša has completely betrayed  its people in the eight months of his rule”. According to him, the government did not react adequately to the epidemic; “people are dying and suffering, and they are also nervous because their powers are at stake”.

“We must not allow them to take us on the ice in any way with their unfounded political attacks and fairy tales and conspiracy theories, whether in the form of parliamentary debates, tweets by the prime minister or criminal charges”, he added. /ibna