Gold Rush

In a development that surprised a grand total of zero people, Marjan Šarec, mayor of Kamnik and erstwhile presidential candidate announced yesterday that he will take part in the parliamentary election. This comes on the heels of a host of new political parties announced or already formed and ready to enter the already-crowded arena. And with the vote six months out it is high time pengovsky takes a closer look at the lay of the land .


Slovenian ballot box (photo by yours truly)

Although reguraly decried by their more established and/or traditional cousins as attempts to con and defraud the good citizens of Muddy Hollows, new parties are by no means a purely Slovenian phenomenon. Case in point Czech Republic (or Czechia, as it now wants to be called in English) where a large majority of parliamentary parties have yet to celebrate their tenth birthday and one was established only two years ago. Or neighbouring Slovakia where two parliamentary parties were non-existent as little as three or four years ago. Or even France, where the right wing is currently billed as Les Republicains but used various acronyms throughout the decades as its (originally Gaullist) platform evolved. All this and we haven’t even mentioned Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique En Marche which was but a figment of imagination as little as eighteen months ago but has since opened a can of whoop-ass on the French political establishment.

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Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum (Policy)

It takes a special sort of naiveté to look at the last ten days in Muddy Hollows and see it as anything but a shameless run for cheap political points. The matter at hand is the issue of one Ahmat Shani, a Syrian refugee who ended up in Slovenia where the state is refusing to process his asylum application and is now facing deportation to Croatia.


Ahmad Shami (source)

Ahmad Shami was a part of the 2015 refugee exodus which – despite numerous warning signs – caught the EU more or less unawares and scrambling for stop-gap solutions, hobbling the Schengen area and inducing levels of panic and overreaction not seen since, well, the eurozone crisis. But Ahmad Shami probably cared less about that than getting to safety and making sure his immediate family could follow in his footsteps.

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The Aftermath Of An Election

The ordeal is finally over. Borut Pahor was elected to a second five-year term, fending off a second-round challenge by Marjan Šarec, the mayor of a mid-size town in central Slovenia. But although Pahor’s victory was expected, he had to work harder and longer for it and won with by a much smaller margin that generally expected at the outset of the campaign.


The runner-up and the incumbent (source)

Still reeling from the clusterfuck after the first round when a number of of prominent polling agencies called the race for Pahor even ahead of the vote, the pollsters were more or less on target this time around. Most of final polls coalesced around 55/45 percent for Pahor but the final tally showed Pahor won in the end by 53 percent to Šarec’s 47 percent. That’s a mere six-point spread.

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Presidential Election: The End (Finally)

So, this sorry-ass presidential campaign is finally coming to an end. It’s been three weeks since the first round and the voting public learned virtually nothing new about either of the remaining candidates.


Marjan Šarec and Borut Pahor (right) after the first round (source)

The biggest surprise of this election seems to have been the fact that there is a second round at all. And while the incumbent Borut Pahor struggled to maintain both the tempo and the direction of his campaign, the challenger Marjan Šarec struggled to maintain… well, anything. As the campaign dragged on it became painfully obvious that Šarec was increasingly out of his depth while Pahor never regained the momentum he had at the outset of this ordeal. As a result Šarec was able to close the gap significantly, according to the latest polls.

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Presidential Election: The Run-Off

What was unlikely as late as Friday evening when the campaign ended, materialised on Sunday night when the votes were staring to come in. President Borut Pahor and his main challenger Marjan Šarec are headed for a run-off in three weeks’ time.


Results in the first round show Pahor winning most votes in all but three precincts (source)

In all honesty, Pahor came close to winning in the first round. But not close enough. With 99.98 percent of the vote counted, Pahor won 47.07 percent while Šarec won 24.96 percent. Among the also-rans, Romana Tomc of SDS won a respectable 13.74 pecent while the other main centre-right contender, Ljudmila Novak of the NSi, won 7.16 percent. Maja Makovec Brenčič of the ruling SMC won an embarrassing 1.76 percent of the vote while Angelca Likovič of the ultra-conservative GOD party tallied a measly .58 percent. The alt-right candidate Andrej Šiško won 2.22 percent of the vote which is an unpleasantly remarkable feat given that he hardly campaigned at all.

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