The Slovenia Times

Maribor By-Election: Fištravec Goes from Protester to Mayor


Riding a wave of support from a civil society group that rose to prominence during the protests that led to the resignation of his predecessor Franc Kangler at the end of December, Fištravec secured a landslide victory with 52.37% of the vote, defying polls which said the vote would go to a run-off.

Social Democratic (SD) candidate Matevž Frangež was second with 24.65%, while Deputy Mayor Milan Mikl, who stood in for Kangler following his resignation, was a distant third with 6.01% in the 11-candidate field.

The turnout stood at a mere 31%, as only about 30,000 of 93,000 eligible voters cast their votes.

Born and bred in Maribor, Fištravec has been active in academic circles since gaining his doctorate in sociology from the Maribor Faculty of Arts.

He is currently serving as the head of the Science and Research Centre at the Institute for the Development of Social Responsibility, where he has specialised in research of youth and private education.

Along with a number of other prominent Mariborians, he formed the Manifesto for Maribor during the protests against alleged corruption in the administration headed by Kangler that started in late October and continued beyond the mayor's resignation at the end of December.

He entered his bid with the support of 1,200 voters, including other authors of the manifesto and prominent members of the protests.

Fištravec announced his priority will be to implement measures from the manifesto to kick-start the decaying economy of the city that used to be an industrial giant in Slovenia.

"I want to the municipality to join forces with the business chamber as soon as possible in order to implement measures that are of vital see investors who are interested in Maribor," he said in his first reaction to the victory.

Fištravec's term will run until the next regular location elections in the autumn of 2015 and he will be forced to work with the existing city council that is controlled by factions allied with Kangler and Mikl.

Responding to this, he indicated he would be looking to find support on key projects and would not be seeking to exact revenge. "Maribor does not need this, it needs smart measures, experts and joint efforts, as well as some forgiveness."

Commenting on the low turnout, Fištravec said it appeared that it was harder to "work for something than against something".


More from Nekategorizirano