September 6, 2018
Andrej Šišiko, currently a paramilitary group commander, was until recently best known for his unsuccessful bid in last year's presidential elections. But what else is known about Mr Šiško, the leader of the political party Zedinjena Slovenija (United Slovenia) other than he has written several books, does not own a car or real estate, and seems to receive no salary or social service benefits?
Šiško’s personal history is in fact quite rich, and full of controversy.
He was born in Koper on April 24, 1969, but soon moved to Maribor, where after completing elementary school he attended the Secondary School of Catering and Tourism, and then continued his studies to become an IT engineer in 2011, and is now in the process of completing a marketing degree.
While still in high school, Šiško established the then-illegal Anti-Communist Organization of Slovenia, and after that the Independent Slovenia Front and the Slovenian Separatist Movement.
He first spent time in jail during his military service in the Yugoslav People's Army (YPA), following a dispute with his lieutenant.
Life during wartime
During the Independence War he became one of the organizers of the Slovenian Guard, the group of volunteers who cooperated with the Slovenian Territorial Defence (TD) intelligence service. He was among those who, in May 1991, discovered YPA scouts near the TD Training Center in Pekre, near Maribor, and reported them to the TD Protection Unit, which captured two of the scouts but released them afterwards. This led to the encirclement of the learning centre by Yugoslav tanks, with their commander demanding the extradition of the unit who captured the scouts. Šiško also participated in the capture of a YPA tank column in Štrihovac, which later became the first Slovene tank squad.
In 1992, Andrej Šiško was detained under suspicion of attempted murder, when he was accused of leaving an explosive device under the car of Milan Klement, an act in which he was believed to be assisted by the Slovenska Nacionalna Stranka leader Zmago Jelinčič. Fourteen years later Šiško was finally sentenced to a year and ten months in prison for attempted murder. The arrest took place in front of the local television cameras during the pre-election debate in September 2008.
In 2009, the then Prime Minister Borut Pahor, in one of his most bizarre political incidents in recent Slovenian history, payed Šiško a visit in prison, in an attempt to persuade him that his Party of the Slovenian People (Stranka Slovenskega Naroda) should not begin collecting signatures for a referendum on Croatia's accession to NATO. Pahor failed, but so did Šiško, as his party couldn't gather enough signatures for the referendum to take place.
In addition to his political career, Šiško was also as a leader of a football fan club Viole (which supports FK Maribor).
Viole heading towards the recent football Derby between Olimpija (Ljubljana) and Maribor
For the last 14 years Šiško has also worked as the head of the Hervardi, a patriotic movement that promotes the theory of the Veneti origin of the Slovenes, and openly flirts with the ideas of the extreme right. The movement has recently switched its warnings about the threat of Balkanization to ones against immigration.
In last presidential race, which took place in 2017, Andrej Šiško was considered a total outsider, and, perhaps also due to his poor rhetorical skills, not much attention was placed on him by any serious political analysts, although it's notable that, like Trump, he wore a red baseball throughout the campaign.
In more personal terms, Andrej Šiško is a father of three children and spends his free time watching football, playing Airsoft shooting games, and picking mushrooms, while according to media reports he is currently living with his mother.