After presidential elections where Marjan Šarec lost in the second round against our new and former president Borut Pahor, people started speculating about Šarec running for general election in May 2018.
And to be fair it is not just a speculation, since Šarec said various times: “If people see in me a candidate for general election then why not.” But at the same time there have been a lot of comments and posts on social media about how none of the candidates for the presidential election had any considerable content in their campaign. They either wanted a “change” with no suggestions of what the change could be, or they were fighting for what “people wanted”. It is easy to get away with no content in presidential election since it is “becoming more and more of a spectacle not just in Slovenia but all around the world,” as Petra Lesjak Tušek, president of Slovenian Journalists’ Association said and continued “I do not think we had an opportunity to get to know a lot of different points of view from the candidates running for president. Not from their confrontations on television or from any social media platforms which were an important part of their campaigns.”
Almost every election nowadays starts with a new face that gets almost all the attention of the media. Many of those new faces manage to lead the campaign as if it was a spectacle of their own and in the end some of them also win the election. Donald Trump is definitely one of those new unexperienced faces in politics who managed to make the election all about him and also win in the end. It was just as if he wrote the script how the election would take place and it all ended up as he planned it.
“New face” in politics. Can it be enough to win general election?
General election is specific in a way since a candidate running for prime minister also needs good candidates in all the other electoral districts and the electoral threshold for entry into parliament is 4 %. So candidates need a well completed programme and a list of their own candidates for parliament members. In a way we know that a new face in politics has always been interesting for the first few weeks, but when it comes to presenting their content they usually disappoint. “We all know what our experience with the new faces in politics is. They have mostly been a disappointment rather than anything else,” concluded Petra.
“Young people do not care about politics”
It is important for voters to know what they are voting for and that is why we have to give our best to present to them the content of the electoral campaigns. A lot of young people say they do not care about politics, mostly because they are not interested in the drama that comes up in every election, but rather in what each candidate has to offer. “If I had to choose between the confrontations of the candidates for presidential election I would choose the ones on our commercial television POP TV over the ones on our national television RTV SLO. And I am not saying any of them gave me the information I was looking for, it is just that the POP TV had less violent approach to the candidates. And for me it is not important to hear them fight who is more naïve or more stupid, I would prefer a discussion on the content of their campaigns or for example an actual proposition for the change they are planning to make instead of just blank promises of general change.” That was the answer of a young journalism student Ana when we asked her what she taught about our electoral system and electoral campaigns.
Overall we have to try and get away from this spectacle and go back to when content was more important than where was a candidate seen a night before with his family. Everybody says how important it is that young people get interested in politics and that they are our future. But nobody gives them the chance to get to know politics. Tjaša Pirnat, student at the faculty of law in Ljubljana says that voters in general do not get to know what each candidate has to say about: “the changes and the moves he is going to make if he gets elected. We are only presented with what the candidates have to say about each other. And it is not true that we are not interested, we are! But it is hard to have an opinion and choose a candidate when none of them is what you imagined a president or a prime minister should be. It is ridiculous how the media makes a reality show out of absolutely everything- even out of the important events like president and general elections.”