Social network diagrams of Slovenian governments between 1991 and 2013

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Such a young country, but already so messed up. One is inclined to think that all is lost, and one would not be far from the truth. Much ink has already been spilled on sad state of affairs in Slovenia, its fall from grace in European Union, the precipitous decline of living standard of its citizenry and its bleak outlook for the future. Did I mention the rampant corruption of its ruling class and top managers? Best not. This was, after all, supposed to be the next Switzerland.

Blaming the ruling class in mere abstract terms may give one a fleeting satisfaction, but who were the people who led us off the cliff? Someone did govern here, or was at least giving an appearance of governing. Prime ministers are known: Lojze Peterle, Janez Drnovšek, Tone Rop, Andrej Bajuk, Janez Janša, Borut Pahor and currently Alenka Bratušek. These are the main culprits for the downward spiral, of which one can only hope we already passed the first half. Names of their accomplices – the ministers, secretaries, etc. – have a tendency to drift into oblivion, as majority of people preoccupy themselves with the daily grind.

So who were they and how are they connected? Here’s a diagram showing all the government members  from 2001 on. I call it “loyalty diagram”, since it was constructed in a way that it shows who is close to whom, and who is hardly loyal to any alliance. The rationale in short is:

  • Ministers are considered to be very loyal to the prime minister (although I know they are not).
  • Secretaries a lot less, since they are essentially experts and not politicians.
  • Secretaries are less loyal to ministers as are ministers to prime minister, but still a lot, since it’s they who appoint them.
  • Secretaries are loyal to each other, since they are bureaucrats who like their positions and will in theory support each other, although in practice there exist many party rivalries.

Click the link or image below to launch the interactive diagram, which can be searched, panned, and zoomed, and which shows details for every staff member on the government. Red dots are prime ministers, bright blue ministers, dark blue secretaries. Every person is marked with a color of the highest position occupied.

Launch the interactive loyalty diagram

Social network of staff in Slovenian governments 2001-2013
Social network of staff in Slovenian governments 2001-2013

A few lines of commentary:

  • There are a select few of loyal party cadres that every prime minister carries with him, or her, which very rarely, if at all, work with anyone else. These are the dark blue and bright blue dots in close proximity of red dots (prime ministers).
  • Node radius is proportional to how many times the individual sat in a government over the years. For example, Janez Janša was not only prime minister twice, he also served in other capacities, most notably as Minister of Defense in 1994 and was taking on  more and more departmental duties as his government in 2012 slowly disintegrated.
  • There is a big cluster of common cadres between Janez Drnovšek’s and Anton Rop’s governments. It seems that a lot of secretaries are passed on into the next mandate, except in case of shift between left- and right-wing governments, which perform a purge on inauguration.
  • Anton Rop had most secretaries and the biggest government. If anything, the governments are getting slimmer with time.
  • People in the middle of diagram are generally dragged there because of many ties with different prime ministers and ministers, so they are either the most politically promiscuous, or (theoretically) the best experts in their fields, a theory swiftly disproven considering they took on ministerial duties in vastly different departments. These are the most die-hard bureaucrats who mostly didn’t do much else in life except being politicians. For the sake of argument, let’s suppose there are exceptions even between them.

Here is how the social network of government actors evolved over time:

Growth of social network of Slovenian government members 2001-2013 from Marko O’Hara on Vimeo.

 

Next diagram shows connections of same cadres to their respective fields of work. Green dots are government offices, other colors are the same as in diagram above. Here one can see, for example:

  • Who is walking in corridors of true power: prime ministers like to keep close Department of Defence, Department of Finance and Department of Internal Affairs. People close to these offices are the movers and shakers.
  • How different the governments of Slovenia truly were: departments were clumped together with other departments over time, split and again clumped with other departments. There’s hardly a department which survived this period without being split or clumped, most notably Department of Defense.
  • Who held which functions, and how are different departments connected with various people.

Launch the interactive diagram of employment by government office

Social network of members and government offices in Slovenian governments 2001-2013
Social network of members and government offices in Slovenian governments 2001-2013

Here is a short video of how all this evolved over time:

Growth of Slovenian government members and ministries 2001-2013 from Marko O’Hara on Vimeo.

 

Data sources

All data was kindly provided by Government of Republic of Slovenia. Download CSV version here. If anyone wants original documents, e-mail me. My address is on About page.

Technology

Graphs were constructed in Java and exported to Gephi for visualization, then again exported to web-friendly sigma.js format.

Correction: it’s actually from 1991 to 2013.

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