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The interview for weekly magazine Mladina

Ljubljana, 02/19/2007  |  interview

The interview of the President of the Republic of Slovenia Dr. Janez Drnovšek for slovene magazine Mladina is published bellow.

Published: 17th Feb. 2007.

“There are a type of people who are prepared to work for this country, regardless of what kind of government is running it. They are prepared to work properly and honestly. But not everyone is acceptable to this government. They must literally be adherents, otherwise they are not acceptable. Anyone who is not one of theirs is automatically against them and cannot occupy any important position in political, economic or media institutions.”
- Dr. Janez Drnovšek

DR Janez Drnovšek, President of the Republic of Slovenia
by Grega Repovž

An interview with president Janez Drnovšek about relations with the government, and with the prime minister. And about how it is not true that he did not discuss Jože Mencinger as a candidate for governor of the Bank of Slovenia with Janez Janša. About what happened to the LDS, and his candidacy in the presidential elections. About the critics who have gone silent, and about non-existent communication. And about when a crisis arises and why it is sometimes right for that to happen.

At this moment you are in a very bitter dispute with the governing coalition. Your message is clear, but your actions are not. First the coalition would not support candidate Mitja Gaspari. You invited Jože Mencinger to apply. Then you withdraw that proposal and proposed Andrej Rant. First you said that consultations with parliamentary deputies are not useful, then you had a meeting with them. The Prime Minister stated publicly that you never talked to him about Mencinger. Why Rant, precisely? How do you explain this strong involvement of the Prime Minister and the entire coalition specifically in selecting the governor? The damage the government is doing to itself is undoubtedly serious. Why such a strong desire to choose the governor? Is it possible that this is simply about controlling those functions that the Bank of Slovenia retained after adoption of the euro: issuing licences to members of the bank’s board, overseeing the bank’s operations and issuing opinions on sales and privatisations? So last year you still felt that offering cautions might bring a normalisation. Don’t you think that way any longer? Are you not amazed that there is no longer any resistance to this kind of behaviour? It seems that those of you who point this out are becoming increasingly isolated. A large section of the media has been invaded by politics. That is a severe view. Do you mean to say that we are no longer talking about democracy? There have already been several instances of strained relations between you and the executive branch. Often you, too, have conducted a solo policy, especially in foreign policy. What are your relations with the foreign ministry? Is the coordination of foreign policy now running normally? How is this lack of coordination manifested? It appears that relations between Slovenia and Croatia have come to the point now where it is largely just mutual provocation, and relations are at their lowest point. Is a possible solution to put this issue on hold? I would like to ask you as the commander-in-chief of the Slovenian armed forces, why was it necessary to send 600 troops to Kosovo? Especially in view of the fact that the role of these troops has changed since the new rules also envisage participation in conflicts. How do you assess your former party, the LDS? Is what is happening now a kind of mass suicide? Surely you must be thinking, were the actions taken in your time correct, and did you choose the right successor. In some way the party is also your own child… Could the LDS simply vanish? Some of your closest LDS colleagues, Gregor Golobič and Miha Kozinc, have left the party. Do you expect something new, some new party or group to emerge? Would that be good in your opinion? And will you be in the running? How do explain your popularity swings? Lately it has fallen. But you need popularity if you want to run in the presidential elections. Well you are continuing somewhat to leave the possibility open. It appears that both here and in other countries populism is becoming an important political tool. It is always present to some extent. But how much populism is still acceptable, and how much is too much? Can populism be stopped? The examples you mentioned were only stopped by a severe and radical cut. Do you agree with the assessment that you are somewhat unusual, not a standard-issue president? Well for some people that is a compliment, but for some a fault. But have you taken the view that this is more beneficial to society than being a conventional president? Some changes are afoot: it seems that the issue of atmospheric warming, of climate change, is starting to have a sobering effect in the developed world. How long did you spend writing your last book? Before a book comes out, do you show it or give it to anyone for their assessment? Permit me to go back to the beginning. What will you do if Andrej Rant is not chosen as governor? The Prime Minister threatened you publicly with a possible change in the law, which would take that power from you. Have you received any signals from abroad regarding these complications?