STA, March 12 – Preparations for the June general election are in full swing with established parties unveiling their platforms and new parties emerging from every corner. Newcomers' fortunes will be decided in the final weeks or even days before the election, according to pundit Andraž Zorko.
Zorko, who works for pollster Valicon, said that the number of parties to contest the election will not be extraordinary of itself.
However, new parties get more attention ever since the so called fresh faces started winning elections in 2011.
Several MPs also left established parties this term to pursue their own goals and form parties, including Bojan Dobovšek, Andrej Čuš and Janko Veber.
Former Democrat (SDS) MP Čuš will be vying for the leadership of the Greens of Slovenia on Tuesday, intending to take the party to the election under the name Andrej Čuš and the Greens of Slovenia.
Veber, formerly of the coalition Social Democrats (SD), announced his party Unity would hold the founding congress in the first week of April.
The civil initiative Taxpayers Standing Our Ground, which gained prominence as the initiator of a referendum on the Divača-Koper rail upgrade, will transform into a party with former European Court for Human Rights judge Boštjan M. Zupančič running for president. They plan to give more details on Friday.
According to Zorko, those who come from established parties have better chances of making it into parliament than most of the other non-parliamentary parties.
There are some parties Zorko believes could make a return this year, including the People's Party (SLS) and the National Party (SNS) with its sharp-tongued leader Zmago Jelinčič. "Jelinčič could make a comeback if he makes an appearance and starts performing like he used to," Zorko believes.
Zorko also potentially sees the "very vocal" Bojan Požar, a journalist who owns the news portal www.pozareport.si, making it into parliament because he knows his way around media better than others.
Zorko believes that all these emerging parties have better chances of making it into parliament if they form alliances, such as the United Right alliance between Voice for Children and Families and New People's Party.
These two parties, Zorko believes, have been created to help the SDS from losing voters to centre-right parties it does not have under its sway.
Moreover, voters seeking fresh faces have already flocked to Kamnik Mayor Marjan Šarec, who currently tops public opinion polls after a successful showing in last year's presidential election.
"The rest can take some votes from other parties, but they missed on his initial advantage," Zorko said. Šarec capitalised the runner-up position in the presidential election and is getting much more media attention than any other new party.
Moreover, the current favourite in the general election is a "professional actor who knows how to perform in public and say things that people like".
Nevertheless, things can still turn upside down until the election, especially for Šarec, who is stealing votes from both the SD and the SDS, which will make him a target for both parties.
The period just before the election will be key for all new and non-parliamentary parties, Zorko said. According to him, a bold strategic move can pay off in the polls, while a stupid one can cost dearly.
Meanwhile, he believes that the ruling Modern Centre Party (SMC), which emerged only a month before the 2014 election, cannot be discounted despite losing support.