The Slovenia Times

Countdown Starts to Local Elections



Some contenders have already announced their bids, foremost the incumbent mayors of Ljubljana and Maribor, while most of the parties are yet registering potential candidates and have been tight-lipped about their election plans.

The deadline for the registration of candidates for mayors and members of municipal councils will expire on 10 September. From today and until the contenders bidding independently have time to collect signatures in support of their bids.

Independents standing for mayors need signatures from at least 2% of voters who cast their vote in the first round of the latest regular mayoral election, but not fewer than 15 or more than 2,500. The proportion for independents running for councillors is 1%, with the lowest number of signatures at 15.

The number of eligible voters for each municipality will be released on the Interior Ministry's website today. Eligible are those registered as permanently residing in the municipality, including foreign nationals.

Citizens of other EU countries permanently or temporarily residing in Slovenia have the right to vote and be elected in the elections to the municipal councils. They can also cast their ballots in the mayoral election, but only Slovenian nationals can stand for mayors.

Intention to stand for re-election has so far been declared by the incumbent mayors of seven of Slovenia's nine city municipalities, including Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković, who has secured a landslide majority of over 60% in the first round in three polls already.

Janković is still considered a strong candidate even though his Positive Slovenia (PS) failed to get elected into parliament on 13 July. As has become a tradition, Janković will be challenged by Miha Jazbinšek, a Ljubljana councillor for the Greens, who plans to stand independently this time around.

An early independent bid has also been announced by Damjan Damjanovič, director of the Slovenian Philharmonics, who has earned media popularity as a judge of Slovenia's Got Talent and X Factor shows. He plans to stand on an independent ticket even though he is a member of the Democratic Party (SDS).

The SDS, the second strongest party in the outgoing parliament, which also came second in the recent general election, has yet to complete the internal procedure to select candidates for the local elections, but says Ljubljana needs a responsible mayor who would run city affairs for the benefit of Ljubljanians.

Similarly, candidates are yet to be chosen by other parties, and it is still open whether the Party of Miro Cerar (SMC), which won a landslide in the recent general election, will field its own candidate or select to endorse some other.

Meanwhile, the only bid so far for the mayoral post in Slovenia's second city has been announced by Andrej Fištravec, who was elected Maribor mayor in a by-election in March 2013 after protests over corruption, in which he participated himself, prompted the resignation of Mayor Franc Kangler in his second term.

Celje, Slovenia's third largest city, is still waiting to see whether Mayor Bojan Šrot of the People's Party (SLS) will try to win his fourth consecutive term. His decision is to be known by the end of the summer, but unofficial information has it that he will stand again.

Re-election bids have also been announced by the mayors of Ptuj, Kranj, Nova Gorica, Murska Sobota and Slovenj Gradec.


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