Ljubljana related

30 Aug 2022, 18:54 PM

STA, 30 August 2022 - Marta Kos, the ruling party's candidate for president, withdrew her bid for the 23 October election, citing "change of circumstances out of personal reasons". The Freedom Movement will discuss steps in the wake of Kos's decision in the coming days, the party said, adding that it would focus on local elections due on 22 November.

"I believe in a solidarity-based Slovenia, in a country where people respect and trust each other; I believe in a country that I would like to serve responsibly and promote those ideals," Kos, one of the vice-chairs of the Freedom Movement, said in a written statement announcing her decision.

Kos added that she would continue to fight for those values as a vice-chair of the largest ruling coalition party.

The former diplomat thanked everyone who supported her bid, pledging her commitment to the supporters and the shared values of her homeland.

Public opinion polls suggest that Kos does not have a chance to win the presidential election with Nataša Pirc Musar, a prominent lawyer and former information commissioner, favoured to win a run-off against Anže Logar, the former foreign minister who is now an MP for the opposition Democrats (SDS).

Commenting on Kos's decision to quit, political analyst Andraž Zorko said it was a disappointment for an important part of the electorate.

He wonders whether the largest coalition party can afford not to have its own candidate, saying that Kos's decision puts the Freedom Movement in "an unusual situation".

At the same time, it increases the chances of other presidential candidates, especially Kočevje Mayor Vladimir Prebilič and ex-Foreign Minister Ivo Vajgl.

Zorko also believes that Kos's move brings more uncertainty in the first round for Logar, as the votes that would go to Kos will now more likely go to Pirc Musar.

Nevertheless, Zorko ruled out the scenario that would see any of the candidates who have so far announced their bids to win the election in the first round.

Candidate Pirc Musar meanwhile wrote in response to Kos's move that she respects her decision while focussing on her own bid and voter signature collection.

Similarly, Logar told the N1 portal that he is continuing his own campaign and declined to comment on action by other candidates.

Prebilič is meanwhile confident that he will successfully reach out to the voters that would otherwise support Kos.

His campaign staff summarised his view by saying that Kos's withdrawal will leave a gap in this year's presidential elections, because at the core of democracy is voters having a choice of quality candidates, which Kos, although a rival, certainly is.

23 Aug 2022, 11:58 AM

STA, 22 August 2022 - Lawyer and ex-Information Commissioner Nataša Pirc Musar tops the latest public opinion poll measuring support for the presidential election conducted by Mediana for the newspaper Delo. Pirc Musar has been picked by 26.1% of respondents, and is followed closely by former Foreign Minister Anže Logar.

Logar mustered 23.4%, while Marta Kos, a vice-president of the ruling Freedom Movement, is the only other presidential candidate with a substantial backing, polling at 14.1%.

The remaining candidates for the 23 October elections are far behind, with former Foreign Minister and MEP Ivo Vajgl receiving the backing of 3.2% of the respondents, followed by gynaecologist Sabina Senčar (2.9%) and psychoanalyst Nina Krajnik (0.8%).

More than 15.1% of the 501 respondents polled on 16-18 August were undecided, 4.1% said they would not vote for any of the candidates and 3.8% said they would not vote at all.

Delo notes that, given the latest public opinion polls, a run-off is very likely, and if it featured Pirc Musar and Logar, 44.4% would vote for the former and 30.9% for the latter.

A run-off featuring Pirc Musar and Kos would see Pirc Musar get 35.2% and Kos 20.7%, with 44.1% of the respondents undecided.

Pirc Musar would get a majority of the votes of those would vote for Logar (68%) and Kočevje Mayor Vladimir Prebilič (60%) in the first round, while Kos would be endorsed by supporters of Vajgl (77%) and Senčar (67%).

Delo's analyst Roman Zatler commented on the poll by saying that the difference between Pirc Musar and Logar is too small to make a reliable prediction of who would win the first round of the presidential election.

On the other hand, the difference between Pirc Musar and Kos, and between Logar and Kos is so large that the vice-president of Freedom Movement is very unlikely to surpass either of the two leading candidates.

If the undecided are eliminated from the poll, Pirc Musar would get 59% and Logar 41% of the vote, Zatler said, adding that in a run-off, Pirc Musar would get a majority of the votes of those who would in the first round vote for Kos (93%), Vajgl (79%) and Prebilič (67%), while Logar would get votes from supporters of Krajnik.

11 Jul 2022, 06:35 AM

STA, 9 July 2022 - Lawyer and ex-Info Commissioner Nataša Pirc Musar and opposition SDS MP and ex-Foreign Minister Anže Logar would make it to the run-off if the presidential election was held now, according to a survey pollster Mediana has carried out for the newspaper Delo. Freedom Movement vice-president Marta Kos would place third.

Pirc Musar would receive almost 30% of the vote in the first run and Logar just over 24%, with Kos garnering 16%.

The other candidates would receive less fewer votes: musician Gregor Bezenšek 2.1% and psychoanalyst Nina Krajnik 1.3%.

Delo says that Kočevje Mayor Vladimir Prebilič was not "detected" by the opinion poll as he announced his presidential bid only on the the last day of the poll.

Just over 14% of the respondents would meanwhile not go to the polls and another 8.7% would not vote for any of the candidates.

Pirc Musar, who will run as independent, was labelled as (very) appropriate candidate by almost 54% of those polled, and almost 9% said she is not the right candidate.

Logar, who will also formally run independently, was rated as (very) appropriate by almost 42%, with just over 10% opposing his bid.

Kos, a former ambassador to Germany and Switzerland, was deemed as a (very) appropriate candidate by 44.4%, as opposed to 8.5% who disapprove of her bid.

Delo's May poll about potential presidential candidates, meanwhile, showed that the run-off would be made by Pirc Musar and Kos.

The paper says Kos may have lost some support after ex-President Milan Kučan endorsed Pirc Musar arguing it would be wrong for one political party to hold all three top offices in the country - also those of the prime minister and the parliamentary speaker.

The latest poll also shows that a great deal of Pirc Musar's supporters come from Freedom Movement supporters (46%), which compares to only 29% in Kos's case.

Many of Pirc Musar's supporters come from the coalition Social Democrats (35%), which is yet to present its candidate.

Logar's supporters meanwhile come mainly from the voters of the Democratic Party (SDS) - 70%, while he would also receive votes from NSi supporters.

06 Jul 2022, 13:23 PM

STA, 6 July 2022 - Slovenian musician and charity co-founder Gregor Bezenšek has officially announced his bid for the autumn presidential election. He will run as an independent, vowing to go "sky-high" for people's benefit.

Bezenšek, who has been campaigning for treatment of children with rare diseases, hopes to modernise the presidential office, overcome divisions and strengthen the Slovenian national identity through music if elected.

He pledged to especially protect the rights of the most vulnerable, and to perform his duties with empathy and sincere determination.

Bezenšek promises to speak up when a firm position of the president is needed. "I have no intention of looking away, too often it seemed like the children were fighting and the father was watching TV," he said.

He believes Slovenia needs a strong leader with a backbone who has shown resilience in the face of adversity.

Bezenšek, whose stage name is SoulGreg Artist, has founded the charity Viljem Julijan Association for Children with Rare Diseases together with his wife after they lost their son to a rare incurable disease.

Other candidates to announce their bids for the autumn presidential election so far are vice-president of the Freedom Movement party Marta Kos, former Foreign Minister Anže Logar, lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar and psychoanalyst Nina Krajnik. Kočevje Mayor Vladimir Prebilič will present his bid on Thursday.

Like Bezenšek, most plan to collect 5,000 voter signatures in support of their bids.

More on the other candidates and the presidential election in general

28 Jun 2022, 11:28 AM

STA, 28 June 2022 - Marta Kos, vice-president of the Freedom Movement, has officially announced her bid for the presidency of the republic. She will run as her party's candidate and hopes the two coalition partners will endorse her as well. 

The first of the candidates so far to run with the support of a parliamentary party, Kos said she was "proud to be a representative of the progressive forces that restored people's dignity and hope for the future after two difficult years of backwardness."

"I will be proud if I can continue to be a voice of a civil society that swears by solidarity, the common good, and civic courage," she said, adding that she would proudly represent Slovenia and restore its reputation in Europe and in international relations.

"We know what bothers, confuses and frightens us. The uncertain situation, the grating times, the cruel war. But we also know what we are capable of doing and how to win, we know how to be proud of a job well done, to trust in cooperation, gentle kindness as well as solidarity," she said.

Kos said she would be different than the incumbent, Borut Pahor, who has decided not to be a moral authority.

The party's president, Prime Minister Robert Golob, said it was time to "change how the office of the president is performed".

"We need a president who knows how to act as a moral compass ... we want a president who can tell what is right and what is wrong, regardless of who is in power; even if I am in power, we want the president as a corrective of the executive branch," according to Golob, who added it was high time for Slovenia to get a female president.

Born in 1965, Kos used to work as a TV journalist, including as foreign correspondent from Germany, before she led the Government Communications Office under the Janez Drnovšek government in 1997-1999, whereupon she first worked for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) and then as a business coach.

In 2013 she was named ambassador to Germany and in 2017 she became the ambassador to Switzerland, a post from which she resigned in 2020 due to differences in views with the Janez Janša government.

Since then she has worked as a business coach in Switzerland, where she met her current partner.

When announcing her candidacy today, Kos expressed hope that the coalition partners Social Democrats (SD) and the Left would support her, but the parties have since said that they would be putting forward their own candidates.

SD head Tanja Fajon said the party would be discussing the presidential election on Monday, adding that given the party's history, tradition and its network it was only appropriate to run with a candidate of its own.

Matej Tašner Vatovec, the deputy group leader of the Left, meanwhile said that internal candidacy procedures were underway and that the party would announce its candidate once these were completed.

Kos is the third candidate to formally make the announcement after lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar and psychoanalyst Nina Krajnik. Siol news portal reported today that Anže Logar, the former foreign minister, will enter the race as well.

Moreover, musician Gregor Bezenšek, who runs a charitable foundation collecting funds for children requiring expensive treatments abroad, said today he will be announcing his candidacy next week.

 Quizzed about remarks that both her and Pirc Musar were targeting the same group of voters, Kos said that she respected all candidates. "We can all contribute to what has been lacking in Slovenia in recent years - political culture."

Indications that Kos would enter the race have led Milan Kučan, the formed president who endorsed Pirc Musar, to say it is not good if a single party controls the most important posts in the country.

Golob said these concerns were misguided. "I respect Mr. Kučan, but sometimes even he will put his foot in his mouth," he said.

27 Jun 2022, 15:44 PM

STA, 27 June 2022 - Nina Krajnik, a philosopher and psychoanalyst, has announced she is entering the presidential race. She will run as an independent but will accept endorsement by like-minded political parties.

 "I am making it official and public. I will run for president of the republic in the autumn election," the 37-year-old told the press on Monday.

Krajnik says her politics is different since she is creating space for "everybody's truth and desire."

Lawyer Pirc Musar Will Enter Autumn's Presidential Election

She says people who would vote for her are neither left nor right but "can open their eyes to social reality" and "do not buy into diverse attempts at brainwashing."

Her desire is to connect people. "If we do not stand together during crisis, we are never together."

Krajnik has received endorsement from prominent conservative figures including former Constitutional Court judges Peter Jambrek, who she said "opened her eyes to the candidacy," and Jože Jerovšek.

The author Gabriela Babnik Outarra, ski jumper Lovro Kos and physicist Bojan Kambrič have endorsed her as well.

The spouse of Moravče Mayor Milan Balažic, Krajnik has not had much of a public profile until a recent TV interview during which she attacked the 1990s left for having privatised public property.

"Privatisers" is also how she recently described on Twitter two other candidates for president, Marta Kos and Nataša Pirc Musar.

After the interview, many prominent figures on the right started elevating her public profile on social media.

Krajnik holds a PhD in philosophy and an MA in cultural studies. She is currently head of a department of Lacanian psychoanalysis at the University of Sigmund Freud - Ljubljana.

One newspaper commentator recently described her as the first proper alt-right candidate in Slovenia.

23 Jun 2022, 13:44 PM

STA, 23 June 2022 - Lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar, best known in her former role as information commissioner, has announced she will enter the presidential race in the autumn election as an independent, becoming the first candidate to formally announce her bid.

"For several years I've had this desire to do something in Slovenian society and politics and the role of president would fit like a glove," she told the press on Thursday.

"I've done a lot in life and am currently at the peak of my powers. I'm 54 years old, I may as well do something for Slovenia," the self-described liberal said.

Pirc Musar, who has long had a prominent presence in the media and on social media as a commentator of current affairs, is convinced that the president of the republic must state their opinion "loud an clear," in particular in difficult times.

She says she had been invited to enter politics on several occasions in the past but does not see herself in the executive branch given the need to "make rotten compromises."

Given that she has worked her whole life on human rights and the foundations of the rule of law, she thinks the presidential office is a great fit.

To run as an independent, Pirc Musar must collect 5,000 voter signatures. While she plans to formally run as an independent in any case, she says she is not averse to discussing receiving support from political parties.

Her candidacy has so far been backed by more than a dozen prominent individuals, including former presidents Milan Kučan and Danilo Türk.

Holding a degree in law, Pirc Musar started her career in TV and worked as a journalist and news anchor for more than a decade.

She briefly did PR in the corporate sector and the public sector between 2001 and 2004, when she was elected Information Commissioner, a position she held for two terms.

In 2014 she became an attorney at law and has had her own law firm since.

While Pirc Musar is the first person to announce a run for the presidency, the ruling Freedom Movement have tentatively picked their candidate as well, former diplomat Marta Kos.

Media have mentioned several other potential candidates in recent days, including Miro Cerar, a former prime minister, and Ivo Vajgl, a former foreign minister.

The incumbent, Borut Pahor, is term-limited.

01 Jan 2022, 10:09 AM

STA, 1 January 2021 - Slovenia will spend much of 2022 in campaign mode as voters will head to the polls three times in what has been described as a super election year. A general election is scheduled in spring, in April at the earliest, followed by presidential and local elections in autumn.

Crowded field for general election

There has been a flurry of activity in the final months of 2021 as parties staked out their positions by adopting election manifestos. The centre field in particular is crowded as parties attempt to distance themselves from the more radical positions of the ruling Democrats (SDS) and Left on either end of the political spectrum to appeal to moderate voters.

Alliances are being built left and right, some as a counterweight to the long dominant SDS, others in order for parties to have a better shot at achieving 4% at the general election, the threshold to enter the National Assembly.

Four parliamentary centre-left opposition parties - LMŠ, SD, Left and SAB - signed a pact on post-election cooperation in September. They plan to contest the campaign individually, whereupon the best-performing party would nominate the prime minister-designate.

There have been mounting calls for the four to also forge a closer pre-election coalition, with some analysts arguing that this was the only way to defeat Prime Minister Janez Janša's SDS and potentially deflect challenges by up-and-coming alliances.

One such forthcoming alliance, called Connect Slovenia, features parties including Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek's Concretely and the party of former Maribor mayor Franc Kangler. They are in talks several smaller local lists to broaden their appeal.

Two green parties are also on the horizon, an attempt to capitalise on the increasing importance of green policies and finally bring green back into the mainstream, from which it has been absent for more than two decades. One was formed by Jure Leben, a former environment minister, the other was announced by two prominent green activists, Uroš Macerl and Urška Zgojznik.

Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič, meanwhile, has announced he will form a liberal democratic party and has entered into talks with several prominent mayors. The party is expected to be formally established soon.

One major unknown for now is the trajectory of Robert Golob, the ousted CEO of energy trader Gen-I. Early polls show he currently enjoys significant support, but it remains unclear whether he will enter the election with a party or join an existing group. He has been coy so far, saying that he would get politically active through a broad movement.

Another party that early polls indicate might have a shot as well is Our Land, created by Aleksandra Pivec, a former agriculture minister who was swept away by an expenses scandal.

Presidential election wide open

The presidential election, to be held in autumn, will be wide open since Borut Pahor, the incumbent, is term limited and will not contest the election.

Parliamentary parties remain tight-lipped about potential candidates as they focus on the general election, and it remains unclear whether some parties will join forces or field their own candidates at least in the first round of voting.

The name most often mentioned by the media as a serious contender is Ljudmila Novak, the MEP for the Christian democratic New Slovenia (NSi), who has overtaken Pahor in popularity rankings this year. She has not made any announcements yet and it is not certain that she would even be considered by her own party given significant differences with the party's young leadership.

Local elections scheduled for 20 November

Local elections have a fixed date on the third Sunday of November but for all intents and purposes campaigning has already started as municipalities traditionally ramp up local investments in the final year before ballots are cast.

The local votes rarely reflect political realities at the national level as many candidates in Slovenia's 212 municipalities are elected from local lists without a firm party affiliation, or from smaller parties that are not represented in parliament. In the last election, the People's Party (SLS) ended with the largest number of mayors despite being absent from national politics since 2014.

One major factor affecting local ballots will be how many mayors decide to enter the general election. MPs are prohibited by law from serving as mayors and whoever is elected to parliament must give up their mayoral office.

National Council finishing its five-year term

Elections to the National Council, the upper chamber of parliament, are typically below the radar since councillors are elected indirectly by interest groups representing employers, trade unions, farmers, craftspersons, non-commercial activities and, most notably, local communities.

The National Council does not have the kind of powers that upper chambers have in true bicameral systems, but during its current term it has shown it can strongly affect politics nevertheless with its veto powers.

While it wielded the veto liberally during the term of the previous government, it was more accommodating to the current government in pre-emptively giving up veto powers when the National Assembly passed any of the ten Covid relief bills, so that the legislation could take effect immediately.

The reason its veto power has mattered more is that both the present and the previous government were minority governments in a hung parliament, making it very difficult to muster the absolute majority that is required in a re-vote.

Photo galleries and videos

This websie uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.