With local elections fourteen days away it is high time pengovsky writes them up. Not that there’s a whole lot of interest in them in the first place. Case in point being this video featuring main contenders for mayor which drew about as much attention as a six-days-old fart (either that or it’s just that fucking bad :)). Be that as it may, fact of the matter is that as many as 770 people are running for mayors of 208 municipalities, of those sixty-nine are running for mayors of eleven urban municipalities.
If you’re a statistics buff, here’s some more for you, courtesy of the National Electoral Commission: 25,824 people are running for seats in municipal and city councils, of those 9,951 are women. There are 93 women running for mayor, while the youngest candidate is one Aljaž Verhovnik, age 19, who’s running for mayor of Ravne na Koroškem on a Social Democrats ticket. 23 incumbent mayors have no opposing candidate and are for all intents and purposes already re-elected. And, finally turning to Ljubljana, the nation’s capital sports the longest ballot as there are thirteen people running for mayor and twenty-four parties and lists which put forward 658 candidates for 45 seats in the city council.
Janković seems poised to continue to wear the mayoral chain and recieve foreign dignitaries (photo: The Firm™)
Ninamedia polling agency and POP TV ran some polling results for Ljubljana ten days ago which were encouraging, Or discouraging. Or surprising. Depends on how you look at them. Pengovsky had the opportunity to look at the entire data set so my conclusions in this series will be based on more that just the sketchy report published first by POP TV and then by Finance daily.
So, where is we? Basically there’s no chance of an upset in Ljubljana mayor race. Incumbent mayor Zoran Janković has a 63% support among Ljubljana voters and is trailed a long way back by Mojca Kucler Dolinar of Nova Slovenija (NSi) who got a measly 6,2 % support. She is then followed by Zofija Mazej Kukovič of Janez Janša‘s SDS, who mustered a 5,3 % support.
Let me run that by you again: Zoran Janković has a 63% of support to begin with. This is exactly the same level of support he won in elections four years ago. So despite all the mud that was thrown at him, despite the fact that sometimes things are not exactly as advertised, despite the fact that he has the political nuance of a bulldozer on steroids which alienated some of his political supporters and the despite the fact that he doesn’t give a shit about the “not-in-my-back-yard” syndrome, which spurred some sixty initiatives opposing many of his projects in Ljubjlana, despite all that he didn’t lose an inch of support among the electorate.
What seems to have occurred though, is that the above initiatives have generated enough support for Miha Jazbinšek (The Green Party), the lonesome cowboy of Ljubljana politics to end up in fourth place with a staggering 5,1 % of support, who constantly hovered around them, giving them advice (either solicited or unsolicited) Since Jazby, as he is popularly known runs for mayor primarily to generate enough votes for his list of city council candidates, the result is more than encouraging for him. If this goes on he might even get enough votes to not just get himself re-elected as councilman, but also to squeeze in another member of his list which would be a major achievment for the former environment minister (1990-1994) who runs a no-budget campaign.
A smack in the face
But if Jazbinšek is (percentage-wise) on a par or even better than most of the candidates save Janković, this also a smack in the face for established political parties (i.e: those which are represented in the national parliament). Namely, local elections in Ljubljana transcend the pure local nature of the phenomenon. Ljubljana has always been prime battle ground between the left and the right, even more so since Janković took power in 2006 in what was a direct “fuck you” to then-PM Janez Janša. Back then the political right united behind a single candidate and France Arhar (former governor of the Bank od Slovenia, now CEO of Slovenian branch of Unicredit) won almost 20% of the vote. Fast forward to today and candidates of the three main right wing parties, NSi, SDS and SLS, Mojca Kucler Dolinar, Zofija Mazej Kukovič and Janez Žagar can muster only 13,5 percent of support between them.
But the situation is even worse for the left wing parties. Metka Tekavčič of Social Democrats barely registers with a meagre 2,1 %, while Meta Vesel Valentinčič of DeSUS and Milan Hosta of Zares hover around 1% mark. In that respect the only party which saved itself grief it doesn’t need is LDS which openly supported Janković and did not nominate a candidate of its own. However, that may work against them. Sure enough, they will not be wasting resources on a lost battle for mayor, but as a result they may not get enough exposure for their list of candidates to make a decent result. Currently LDS holds three seats in the city council (initially it held five, but then two members switched allegiances) and anything less than that would be a bitter disappointment. And truth be said, this is probably exactly why Zares sent Hosta into the battle: to steal the limelight from LDS, chip off some more votes and come out on top in a continuous low-intensity struggle between two parties which rose from the ashed of once almighty LDS.
The list of would-be mayors obviously does not end there (pengovsky can, contrary to some reports, count to thirteen) thus it is only fair that we mention the rest of the poor sods who barely register on the voters’ radars: Marko Mitja Feguš, who also ran for mayor in 2006 and won an impressive tally of 69 votes (yes, sixty-nine). This year Feguš (a landscape architect) runs as a candidate for List for Clean Drinking Water and has had a stroke of luck with the floods of last weekend, where he actually sounded credible for a moment. But only for a moment. Especially since the LCDW (headed by Mihael Jarc) made local news not as much for their drive for clean tap water but much more for their opposition to erection of a mosque in Ljubljana some years ago.
Then there’s Jože “Joc” Javornik of Slovenska Unija, which (a bit of political gossip) is ran by Metka Tekavčič’s ex-husband and minister of labour Vlado Dimovski. Among also-rans we find Jože Drnovšek (presumably no relation to the late president) a candidate for Naprej, Slovenija (Forward, Slovenia), a ridiculous proto-Nazi party whose chief Blaž Svetek reportedly runs a whore-house on the outskirts of Ljubljana. Then we have another proto-Nazi who goes by the name of Miha Majc and runs as a candidate for Stranka slovenskega naroda (SSN – Party of Slovene Nation) which made its claim to five minutes of fame during the near-fuck-up on Croatian NATO entry. And last (and most likely least) we have before us Janez Lesar, a candidate for Social-Liberal party, who was ran the city services in the early 90s and was pretty powerful back then. Time’s a bitch, however, and Lesar (who seems not to be entirely with us) is running on a platform of more biomedicine for everyone.
End of Part One
Since the power in the city lies with the city council as much as with the mayor, the results of council elections will be just as interesting. Perhaps even more so. More on that on Tuesday…