The Slovenia Times

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Candidates hold opposite views on privatisation


Both candidates are critical of how state-owned companies are managed, but unlike President Borut Pahor, his challenger Marjan Šarec does not condemn state-ownership per se.

The business sector has expressed the wish that the president be more involved in the sector. Marjan Batagelj, the boss of Postojna Cave operator Postojnska jama, believes that the president could be the ambassador of Slovenian businesses.

Sonja Šmuc, the director general of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), believes business should have taken a more prominent role in debates ahead of the election.

"It would be good to know the candidates' positions on entrepreneurship and the economy because they affect our daily lives considerably," Šmuc told the STA. She would like to know above all haw Pahor and Šarec feel about taxes and social contributions.

Šarec, the mayor of Kamnik, would like to see lower corporate taxes and the abolishment of tax-certified cash registers in favour of a flat rate tax.

The devices, which require an internet connection for a non-stop link to the Finance Administration, cause a lot of problems for some people, Šarec said.

He also believes Slovenia should introduce measures to cut red tape. As mayor, he has experience with investors who were willing to build their companies in Slovenia, but were discouraged by lengthy procedures required for zoning plan approvals.

On the other hand, President Pahor is in favour of a social contributions cap which would encourage young professionals to stay in Slovenia.

Touching on state-owned companies, both presidential candidates criticised the way these companies are managed, and warned against contentious staffing decisions.

But while Pahor believes the state is an unfit owner, Šarec is against selling successful state-owned companies. However, he believes that the right people need to be found to manage the companies.

By joining the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Slovenia took a small step forward in terms of corporate management, but the country is still far from the progress its should have made, said Pahor.

"No progress has been made and I'm very reluctant towards the notion that Slovenia should strive to keep its state-owned companies." Šarec, on the other hand, is not against state ownership, but believes that companies should be managed by the right people.

However, he stressed that there was no use focusing on lost cases and that such companies needed to be sold off. "Get rid of them and move on." Šarec also believes that the majority of sales of Slovenian state-owned companies were examples of poor practice.


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