Slovenian scandal when weekly close to PM says God sent COVID-19 to "protect whites from corruption"
An article posted by a weekly associated with the party of Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša describes the novel coronavirus as having been sent to Earth by God in order to protect white people and has become a political scandal in Slovenia. The editor faces criminal charges and the opposition is calling for the governing party's coalition partners to distance themselves from the piece, according to the Hina news agency.
"God created the virus to protect the more advanced white race from corruption, a virus that infects just certain people, races, and individuals with certain characteristics," the weekly Demokratija (Democracy) posted last Monday. "This is, therefore, about targeted clearance, just like how people get rid of harmful species, molds and weeds."
The weekly magazine was founded by the conservative Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), chaired by Janša, and the party is criticed for using hateful rhetoric against its political opponents, the press, and migrants, who are also mentioned in the controversial article as one of the alleged "categories" that the "divine virus" can destroy. The article was removed after the opposition and the public criticized it as racist and unconstitutional.
Critics also called on prosecutors to take action. The author of the piece is facing criminal charges, as does the editor, Jože Biščak, for allowing it to be published.
Biščak, whom some Slovenian media outlets have called the main "amplifier" of the PM and his party, defended himself by saying the article was "political/social satire" that had been published in a column designated for that genre and that it was on page 6 of the print version of the weekly. The opposition parties on the left and liberal center called on the SDS coalition partners to publicly object to the piece.
According to the Hina news agency, critics called the piece an "absolutely unacceptable", "racist", "not Christian" or "fascist" outpouring that needs to be responded to not just politically, but also through the courts. Some called for a vote of confidence in the Government to be held.
The hope among the opposition that conditions in the Government could change was boosted last week by the information that a matador of the Slovenian political scene, Karel Erjavec, is returning to the head of the left-wing oriented Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS), which is currently a member of the governing cabinet. The STA news agency reported last week that Erjavec had not commented on whether his party would join the opposition, but some media outlets nevertheless speculated that he could replace Janša as Prime Minister.
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