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Monday, February 6, 2023

Even in the second round of local elections, the left-wing party is not doing well: people are betting on experience, not just platitudes

By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv

After we went to the local elections last weekend, where in as many as 212 municipalities we decided who will take the helm of management, it is still unclear in 47 municipalities who will occupy the mayor’s chair. None of the candidates managed to get the necessary majority of votes. As many as half of the city municipalities (6) will thus have to wait for the winner of the elections. Although before the first round of local elections the president of Gibanje Svoboda party, Robert Golob, announced that he would march on local self-government, he succeeded in electing only one mayor, and his party was not the leader even in terms of the number of councillors elected to municipal and city councils.

Judging by the votes counted in the first round of local elections, we could see that most mayors were elected from the ranks of conservative parties. If we take a closer look at the statistics available on the website of the National Electoral Commission (DVK), we can see that, by party, in terms of proposed mayors, the largest number of mayors were elected from the non-parliamentary SLS party. Each with 11 elected mayors is followed by the parties SDS and NSi. 10 mayors of the SD party were elected, while only one mayor of the leading party Gibanje Svoboda was elected. The Levica parliamentary party did not succeed in electing a single mayor.

After nominating or co-nominating, the SLS party won mayors in 16 municipalities, and with the support of the SDS party, as many as 53 mayoral candidates were elected in the first round. Since the largest opposition party, SDS, succeeded in electing the largest number of councillors in the municipal and city councils, party president Janez Janša did not hide his satisfaction with the results of the local elections. The NSi party was equally more than satisfied with the outcome of the elections, as they managed to increase both the number of mayors and councillors. With the support of NSi, 39 mayoral candidates ran this time, and 16 mayors were elected this time. The success of the conservative parties was of course not to the liking of the rulers, who were satisfied despite the poor total income. They gave the impression that they were some kind of winners. So, they behaved practically in the same way as after the defeat in the first round of the presidential elections.

In the second round, another 47 successful candidates will occupy the mayoral seat

The fact is that in the second round, according to the DVK, voters will choose the mayor in the following municipalities: Bled, Brda, Brežice, Celje, Cerkno), Destrnik, Divača, Dolenjske Toplice), Dornava, Dravograd, Gorišnica, Gornja Radgona, Ig, Ilirska Bistrica, Izola), (Jesenice, (Kanal ob Soči, Komenda, -Kostanjevica na Krki-, -Kostel-, Kranj), -Kranjska Gora-, -Krško-, Laško-, Lendava), -Logatec -, Maribor-, Mengeš-, -Mežica-, -Mokronog-Trebelno-, Moravče), Murska Sobota), (Nova Gorica-, -Piran-, Puconci), -Rogašovci-, -Sežana-, -Sredisče ob Dravi- , Sveti Jurij ob Ščavnici-, Tolmin), -Trebnje-, -Velike Lašče-, -Veržej-, -Škofljica-, Šmartno ob Paki-, Šmartno pri Litiji– and Žiri–.

(For an easier representation: For those municipalities that are in bold a candidate appears in the nomination or co-nomination of the SLS party in connection with the second round of local elections; where it is italicised, it is the SDS party; where it is underlined it is the NSi party). A bracket represents a candidate of a left-wing party, and a dash represents a candidate who went to the elections as an independent candidate or as a representative of his own local list (it is not necessary that everyone is an independent, and some of them are in the second round, and then gained the support of one of the parties).

The following candidates who enjoy the support of the SDS party qualified for the second round of the mayoral elections, which will be held on December 4th: Ivo Bajc – Kranj (1), Peter Rosenstein – Šmartno ob Paki (2), Andrej Vrzel – Sveti Jurij ob Ščavnici (3), Janez Magyar – Lendava (4), Matej Zorko – Dornava (5), Vlasta Tetičkovič Toplak – Destrnik (6), Oton Bratuž – Tolmin (7), Andrej Mešič – Murska Sobota (8), Ivan Molan – Brežice (9), Štefan Bogataj – Žiri (10). After the SLS party won mayors in 16 municipalities through nomination or co-nomination, 9 candidates from municipalities made it to the second round of elections, which will take place on December 4th: Destrnik, Gorišnica, Ig, Kranj, Laško, Mengeš, Moravče, Puconci, Šmartno pri Litiji.

Two conservative candidates lost the fight by a hair (one vote)

It was really close in two municipalities, as the difference was made by one single vote. It concerns the municipalities of Šmartno pri Litiji and Žiri. Blaž Izlakar, who is running for the mayoral seat in Šmartno pri Litiji with the support of the voters, won 756 votes, and Rajko Meserko from SLS got 755. In Žiri, Štefan Bogataj (SDS and NSi candidate) got 1166 votes, and Franc Kranjc (candidated with the support of voters) got 1165.

In Brežice, the independent candidate and current mayor Ivan Molan, who enjoys the support of SDS, and the former president of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia Igor Zorčič, who is running on the List of Igor Zorčič in Sonce, will compete for the mayoral seat. In Destrnik, SDS and SLS candidate Vlasta Tetičkovič Toplak and Branko Horvat from the List za Urban will compete for the successor of former MP Franc Pukšič. The current mayor of Kranj, Matjaž Rakovec from SD party, and the joint candidate of the parties SDS, NSi, SLS and the Zeleni Slovenije, Ivo Bajc, will compete for the post of mayor of Kranj. In the municipality of Gorišnica, Jožef Petek (SLS party candidate) and Borut Kolar (Bernardka Kolar and a group of voters) will compete for the position of mayor.

In the Municipality of Ig, Zlatko Usenik (List of Zlatko Usenik for the progress of the Municipality of Ig) and Anton Modic from the SLS party (he enjoys the support of the SDS and NSi parties) will compete. In Laško, Marko Šantej (Enej Kirn and a group of voters – Young Power of the Municipality of Laško) and Franc Zdolšek (SLS) qualified for the second round. In Lendava, SDS MP Janez Magyar (who also enjoys the support of NSi) and Ivan Koncut (SD party) made it to the second round of local elections, and in Maribor the current mayor Aleksander Saša Arsenovič (Andrej Brvar and a group of voters) and former Maribor mayor Franc Kangler (List of Franc Kangler – New People’s Party of Slovenia) will compete. In Mengeš, we will see Bogo Ropotar (Jurij Jerič and a group of voters) and Franc Hribar (SLS party) in the second round.

Milan Balažic (SLS party) and Martin Rebolj (SD party) will compete in Moravče Municipality, Andrej Mešič (SDS party) and Damjan Anželj (SD) in Murska Sobota Municipality, Uroš Kamenšek (SLS) and Branko Ritlop (SD) in Puconci Municipality. Andrej Vrzel (Simon Černel and a group of voters), who enjoys the support of the SDS party, and Anton Slana (Rok Korošak and a group of voters) are running in the Municipality of Sveti Jurij ob Ščavnici. Oton Bratuž (SDS) and Alen Červ (SD) are competing for the mayoral seat in Tolmin, Peter Rosenstein (SDS) and Janko Kopušar (Zdravko Ramšak and a group of voters) for the mayoral seat in the Municipality of Šmartno ob Paki, and for the mayoral seat in the Municipality of Dornava, Matej Zorko (SDS) and Rajko Janžeković (Dominik Janžeković and a group of voters).

The Gibanje Svoboda has only three candidates in the second round

In Kanal ob Soči, an interesting fight between the two candidates is expected, after there was only a 50-vote difference between them. Voters will thus decide whether the current mayor from SD Tina Gerbec (also supported by DeSUS) or the non-party candidate Miha Stegel will continue to lead the Municipality. In Cerkno, the current mayor Gašper Uršič (candidate on the List Smo taki, kot smo) and the candidate of Gibanje Svoboda Urška Lahajnar Ubajiogu will compete for the votes of voters. The current mayor of the Municipality of Dolenjske Toplice, Franc Vovk (who ran with the signatures of voters), will have to compete with the candidate of the SD party, Mojca Šenica. In Izola, candidate of Gibanje Svoboda Milan Bogatič and current mayor Danilo Markočič (Izolska županova lista) will compete for the position of mayor. Peter Bohinec is running for mayor of Jesenice with the support of the SD party, and his opponent is Blaž Račič (Zoran Račič and the group of voters “Županova lista za naše Jesenice”). In Nova Gorica, the candidates of the Gibanje Svoboda Samo Turel and Klemen Miklavič (Majda Smrekar and the group of voters) are entering the fight.

A whole bunch of candidates for mayor are running on their lists

Both Janez Fajfar, who has been the mayor of Bled for 16 years, as well as his opponent Anton Mežan, will compete for the mayoral seat as non-party candidates with the support of the voters and their list for the municipal council. In the municipality of Brda, long-time mayor Franc Mužič (candidate on the List of Franc Mužič) and Karol Peter Peršolja (candidate on the List for Brda) will compete on Sunday. The mayor of Piran will be Gašpar Gašpar-Mišič (Egon Štibilj and a group of voters) or Andrej Korenika (Andrej Korenika and a group of voters), while the mayor of Rogašovci will be Rihard Peurača (Štefan Rožman and a group of voters) or Martin Ficko (Anton Buček and a group of voters), while the fight for mayor of Sežana will be between Andrej Sila (Tanja Sila and a group of voters) and Jernej Bortolato (Tanja Svetina and a group of voters).

Independent candidate Robert De Lucia and mayor Alenka Štrucl Dovgan, who also ran with the support of a group of voters, will compete in Divača. The race between the long-time mayor and the candidate with voter signatures Anton Maver and Fran Glušič (candidate with voter signatures) will take place in the Municipality of Mokronog-Trebelno. In the Municipality of Dravograd, the current deputy mayor Anton Preksavec (Robert Plimon and a group of voters) and Marjeta Podgoršek Rek (Maksimiljan Kotnik and a group of voters) will compete. David Roškar (Stanislav Rojko and a group of voters) and Urška Mauko Tuš (Aleš Dokl and a group of voters) will compete in the Municipality of Gornja Radgona. In Ilirska Bistrica, Gregor Kovačič (Dr Gregor Kovačič and a group of voters) and the current mayor Emil Rojc (Aleš Rojc) qualified for the second round of elections.

The second round of elections will also take place in the Municipality of Mežica, where the current mayor Dušan Krebel (independent candidate with voter support) and Mark Maze (voter support) will compete. The long-time mayor of Trebnje and candidate with voter signatures, Alojzij Kastelic, will compete in the second round with the candidate of the Trebnje List Drot – for development, Mateja Povha. The current mayor of Logatec, Berto Menard (candidates with voters’ signatures), will have to compete for the new term with the long-time director of the Grand Hotel Union, Bogdan Lipovšek (supported by the newly established civil list). In the Municipality of Komenda, Majda Ravnikar (Igor Štebe and a group of voters) and Jurij Kern (Tea Tašker Kern and a group of voters) will compete, in the Municipality of Kostanjevica na Krki Robert Zagorc (Matej Kuhar and a group of voters) and Melita Skušek (Marjan Jelenič and a group of voters), and in Kostel Municipality, Nataša Turk (Miran Briški and a group of voters) and Valentin Južnič (Nežika Zdravič and a group of voters).

In Kranjska Gora, Henrika Zupan (Aleš Bedič and a group of voters) and Blaž Veber (Alenka Nečemer and a group of voters) will compete for the mayoral seat, in the Municipality of Središče ob Dravi, Toni Jelovica (Mihaela Vesenjak and a group of voters) and Jurij Borko ( Roman Medik and a group of voters), in the Municipality of Velike Lašče Tadej Malovrh (Lidija Vilar and a group of voters) and Matjaž Hočevar (Nina Hočevar and a group of voters), in the Municipality of Veržej Rastko Škrjanec (Janez Skuhala) and Drago Legen (Slavko Petovar), in the Municipality Škofljica Rok Treven (Petra Šilc Miklič and a group of voters) and Primož Cimerman (Bernarda Cimerman and a group of voters).

The biggest surprise happened in Celje, as it was expected that long-time mayor Bojan Šrot would be re-elected (he is the mayor with the longest tenure). Although Šrot used to run for the SLS party, he left it in 2016 and founded his own party called Celjska županova lista. Although Šrot’s challenger Matija Kovač is running in the elections with voters’ signatures, it should be considered that Kovač was a member of the Levica party in the Celje city council for the last two terms. At the same time, we must point out that in the second round the parties SLS and SDS decided to support Šrot at the expense of experience. The defeated candidate of the Gibanje Svoboda, Uroš Lesjak, decided to express his support for Kovač.

In Krško, two candidates who are running with the support of voters made it to the second round: they are former members of the SNS party Dušan Šišek and Janez Kerina. Iztok Starc, the mayoral candidate of the SLS party with the support of NSi, told STA that he supports Šišek personally because he believes that he has more diverse and political experience.

As we can see from the above, there are by far the largest number of independent candidates who will compete in the second round, as the future mayors obviously want to use this to gather a larger spectrum of voters. The left political pole will in no way be able to defeat the right in the second round, since the right was so much more successful in the first round, and on top of that it is impossible to ignore the fact that the Levica party officially has no mayoral candidate in the second round (unofficially we could talk about the Celje candidate Kovač ), and the Gibanje Svoboda party has only three candidates (while it is clear that in the 1st round they only got one mayoress). On the left pole, the SD party undoubtedly leads in terms of the number of candidates for mayor, which can be attributed to the fact that it is an established party with a tradition that is very well-branched locally. The Levica party is much less branched out, and the Gibanje Svoboda party shows the worst in this area, as it is an instant party that was created for the needs of the deep state. But at the local level, the March 8th Institute and similar activists obviously do not come in handy for the ruling party, because people bet on experience and trust, and not on someone simply because the ruling party proposes him.

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