Businessman Enters Contest For Mayor of Maribor

By , 12 Oct 2018, 14:20 PM Politics
A lovely view of Maribor A lovely view of Maribor Wikimedia - Andrej Jakobčič CC-by-3.0

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STA, 11 October 2018 - The incumbent and former mayors of Maribor, Andrej Fištravec and Franc Kangler, considered the favourites in the upcoming local election, have gotten a rival who might prove dangerous to them. Saša Arsenovič, an established businessman, will allegedly run with the support of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) and some influential local players. 

Arsenovič owns a lot of real estate in the city, as well as several popular restaurants, bars and hotels.

According to the Maribor-based daily Večer, Arsenovič has plans to renovate several dilapidating buildings in the future, among them Žički Dvor on the Drava bank, which is to become an intimate concert venue.

His starting capital came from tennis, Večer said in an article about Arsenovič last week, adding that he had a tennis school at Lake Constance in the 1990s.

The group of people supporting him include Tone Vogrinec, a long-standing executive in Slovenian skiing, poet Andrej Brvar, architect Gregor Reichenberg and ultra-runner Robert Kereži, to name a few.

Talking to the press on Thursday, Brvar said that "Maribor has fallen into a developmental free-fall bordering on social and political excesses and we are appalled."

"So we started thinking about suitable candidates for mayor and the more we thought about it the clearer it became that Saša Arsenovič is right for the job. This is a man with a vision," said Brvar.

Labelling himself a non-party candidate, Arsenovič said he was new to politics but believes that he can overcome party divisions. "My vision is more entrepreneurial and managerial." He believes Maribor lacks a clear development strategy.

He is not the only new competitor in the race for Maribor mayor. This morning, Matic Matjašič, a city councillor from the ranks of a newly established List of Youth, promised to make the voices of the young heard if he became mayor.

He brought a suitcase to his press conference to illustrate the brain drain Maribor is facing. "Every year, more than 1,100 residents move elsewhere."

Matjašič's campaign also started an initiative calling on key political players to support one candidate in the election. If such a candidate is found by Friday, Matjašič said he was willing to give up his candidacy.

Yesterday Alenka Iskra, former CEO of Terme Maribor spa, held a press conference. Running with the backing of the Social Democrats (SD), Iskra said she decided for the move because she believes she can turn things for the better in Maribor.

"We need to make a stop to unrealistic and megalomaniac projects in Maribor. The SD will draw up projects that will be good for the city and supported with realistic and realisable resources and capabilities."

Igor Jurišič, the president of the Youth Party - Greens of Europe, also filed his candidacy yesterday. His party also filed a list of 45 candidates for city council members. He said they represented real Maribor: doctors, hair dressers, car mechanics, voluntary firefighters, pensioners, beekeepers and accountants.

Moreover, "we were surprised to realise that Maribor, the home to several thousand members of the Roma community, does not have a Roma councillor, so we also have a well-respected member of the community on the list," said Jurišič.

There are several other candidates for the 18 November election and the race may get ugly: Večer reported that tires were slashed this morning on the car of Lidija Divjak Mirnik, the candidate for the Marjan Šarec Paty (LMŠ), and a puppet with a photo of her was placed on the wind shield, a noose around its neck, the other end tied to a rock.

Several other people have also publicly announced they will run: former deputy mayor Melita Petelin, Zdravko Luketič, a city councillor from the ranks of New Slovenia (NSi) and former MP for the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) Uroš Prikl.

Aleksander Kamenik, a humanitarian activist is also set to join the race, as is Igor Domanjko, supported by the List of Journalist Bojan Požar, while the List of Cyclists and Pedestrians has put forward Josip Rotar.

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