The Slovenia Times

Run-off of Local Elections: Record Low Turnout, More or Less Expected Results



The people of Maribor have said they want to have a future, is how Andrej Fištravec commented on his re-election as mayor of Maribor in the run-off against Franc Kangler as the polls closed on Sunday.

Fištravec, whom unofficial partial results give 74.6% of the vote, sees the re-election as "truly a great responsibility for the next four years".

He will now have four years to deliver on his election promises after he was in office only a year and a half, having been elected in a by-election in March 2013.

The by-election in the struggling city was held after his predecessor, and challenger in today's election, Franc Kangler, was forced to step down in December 2012 amidst severe local protests.

Fištravec will have a much easier time in the city council than so far, since Kangler's supporters in town hall did not resign along with him and the by-election was held only for the mayor.

On 5 October, Fištravec's list won 17 of the 45 city council seats, which is by far the best result for any list in local elections in Maribor so far.

"It will be very important to stop the falling employment in the city," he said before the election, promising at least 5,000 new jobs in the coming four years.

The mayor has been announcing "a number of strategic investments in culture and sport in the second term", including the renovation of the town's key sports facilities and the revival of the Maribor airport via a joint venture.

He has promised to secure at least ten foreign investments, the salvaging of the operator of the Pohorje ski slopes and the continuation of efforts for a new city library and art gallery among other things.

The run-off was held in another 53 of Slovenia's 212 municipalities, of which five more were city municipalities.

While the results are still pending for the municipality of Kranj, where voting was delayed at two polling stations by a serious traffic accident, two incumbent mayors were defeated today in the north-eastern corner of the country, according to unofficial partial results.

In Murska Sobota the former Slovenian criminal police director Aleksander Jevšek secured the support of mostly centre-left parties to turn a ten percentage points defeat from the first round into a 54.1% win against incumbent Anton Štihec.

In Ptuj entrepreneur Miran Senčar upset three-time Mayor Štefan Čelan. While the pair was divided by a single vote in the first round, the run-off went in favour of Senčar with 55.1%.

Also getting a new mayor is Novo mesto, where incumbent Alojzij Muhič was not running for another term. Independent Gregor Macedoni will succeed him, having beaten the winner of the first round, Milena Kramar Zupan, with 59.5% of the vote in the run-off.

New terms were on the other hand secured by the mayors of Nova Gorica and Piran. In the western border town of Nova Gorica, Matej Arčon won 68.9% of the vote, defeating challenger Luka Manojlović.

In the coastal town of Piran, which is not a city municipality, Peter Bossman stood his ground against Sebastjan Jeretič, who helped him get elected four years ago. Bosmann got 59.1%.

The turnout was at 42.5%, according to unofficial results. This is the lowest turnout for the second round of local elections so far and a record low turnout of 45.23% was also reported for the first round.


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