Slovenia, the small country that combines the charm of the Meditteranean and beauty of the Alps, had its presidential election on Sunday. With that, they got a new-old president – Borut Pahor won his second mandate in the second round, against ex stand-up comedian, now mayor of a Slovenian town called Kamnik, Marjan Šarec.
When the candidates announced running for the presidential seat, people of the mother country of Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, were shrugging their shoulders. Does it really matter who the president is? Others were sure Borut Pahor will win by a landslide.
The indifference of people makes sense in a way, because being a president in Slovenia is more of a representative and protocol role. Following the Slovenian constituion, the president promulgates the laws, is the commander-in-chief of its defence forces, calls elections to the National Assembly, appoints and recalls ambassadors and accepts the letters of credence of foreign diplomatic representatives. He also has the right of granting a clemency.
Nevertheless, the president is the face of the country. No one denies Borut Pahor is a pretty face, but a lot of people were worried throughout his previous mandate that a pretty face is all he is.
As already said, before the campaign started, people were pretty sure no one can conquer Borut Pahor. In the end, he won in the second round with only 52.93 %.
Tjaša Slokar Kos, editor-in-chief of the biggest commercial news in Slovenia, 24 ur, followed the elections closely and had first row tickets to the television confrotations before the election. Did the confrotations help the president or were they the reasons he didn’t win by a landslide?
»Pahor, being as experienced in politics as he is, didn’t do so well in confrontations as we all expected. He was visibly nervous, knowing Šarec came so close, so when he was attacked by the media or Šarec, he attacked back. Not such a good look on him.«
In 2018, Slovenia awaits the next parlarliamentary elections and for a lot of parties, this year’s presidential elections were just a training field too anticipate what will happen next year. It doesn’t look good for the leading party SMC, whose candidate Maja Makovec Brenčič got only 1,72 %, which is the third lowest percentage of all candidates.
Because Marjan Šarec came so close to Pahor in the end and because he was such a strong candidate, people more or less expect he will run next year, forming his own party. Some even claimed he was relieved he didn’t win the presidential election.
»Listening to Šarec throughout the campaign, it was obvious he sees himself more in the executive branch of the governement. It seemed he was campaigning for the next year’s election all along,« thinks Slokar Kos.
This year’s election turnout was so low, it was record low. 41,85 % of people voted, which means 717.095 voters out of 1.713.473. Why is that so? Do people don’t care, because the presidential function is more of a representative and protocol one, or the candidates just weren’t convincing enough?
The biggest commercial news editor-in-chief thinks »we are all responsible ourselves, as citizens, to at least consider our options. One things is when we don’t vote out of protest, not being able to choose a good candidate … the other thing is when people just don’t care, living in their own little bubble.«
Looking at social media, one can not say people don’t have an opinion on the topic. There is a great deal of shame involved in the Instagram actions of the new-old president, who was called ‘the Instagram president’ in the past. Some just find it funny. But is it appropriate?
»I am all up for social media, even the president using it. But with Pahor, I miss him using it to actually change something, to send a political message. Look at Trudeau … such a poser, but his photos always send a message. The president is the representative of our country, the face we show to the outside world. The moral authority. The one who shows us what is right and what is wrong,« Slokar Kos tells us what’s missing on Pahor’s Instagram. Quality content.
It’s true we live in a world where the president of one of the strongest countries in the world, Donald Trump, is known as the ‘king of Twitter’, so we can draw some parallels with our president using social media. We can also compare Donald Trump being in reality shows with our runner-up, Marjan Šarec, who was known in the past as a stand-up comedian. The world of politics is drastically changing, but the question remains: is it going in the right direction?
Because people say that the future is in young people’s hands, it is worrying that it seems that the majority of them don’t care. At least looking at the turnout tells us that.
Domen Kos, director of the Institute for political management (IPM) in Slovenia, representing the younger generation, says that the political parties are definitely partly responsible for mobilizing people, adding:
»But we live in strange times … politicians often say ‘they had their chance to choose, but they didn’t vote’.«
As already mentioned briefly, parliamentary election, which are much more important for the future (not just the face) of our country, are coming up in 2018. Will the ‘new face’ win once again? Or can we expect the comeback of the opposition leader, Janez Janša?
»A recent vox populi shows that more than 50 % of people said they would vote for Marjan Šarec’s independent party in the next elections« informs Domen Kos.
»It’s an empiric fact that people in Slovenia vote for ‘new faces’, for those who run an anti-establishment campaign. But it still depends on the candidate on how much of the voters he mobilizes« Kos concludes.
Now we can only wait and see what will president’s Pahor stance be in the next five years.
Until then, we have five years to expect the visit of ‘our’ American first lady, Melania Trump and her husband, the leader of the free world.
If he doesn’t piss off Kim Jong Un too much until then.