Marta Kos Freedom Movement’s candidate for president

Ljubljana – Marta Kos, vice-president of the Freedom Movement, has officially announced her bid for the presidency of the republic. She will run as her party’s candidate, while the other two coalition parties said following her announcement on Tuesday that they would likely run with candidates of their own.

The first of the candidates so far to run with the support of a parliamentary party, Kos said she was “proud to be a representative of the progressive forces that restored people’s dignity and hope for the future after two difficult years of backwardness.”

“I will be proud if I can continue to be a voice of a civil society that swears by solidarity, the common good, and civic courage,” she said, adding that she would proudly represent Slovenia and restore its reputation in Europe and in international relations.

“We know what bothers, confuses and frightens us. The uncertain situation, the grating times, the cruel war. But we also know what we are capable of doing and how to win, we know how to be proud of a job well done, to trust in cooperation, gentle kindness as well as solidarity,” she said.

Kos said she would be different than the incumbent, Borut Pahor, who has decided not to be a moral authority.

The party’s president, Prime Minister Robert Golob, said it was time to “change how the office of the president is performed”.

“We need a president who knows how to act as a moral compass … we want a president who can tell what is right and what is wrong, regardless of who is in power; even if I am in power, we want the president as a corrective of the executive branch,” according to Golob, who added it was high time for Slovenia to get a female president.

Born in 1965, Kos used to work as a TV journalist, including as foreign correspondent from Germany, before she led the Government Communications Office under the Janez Drnovšek government in 1997-1999, whereupon she first worked for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) and then as a business coach.

In 2013 she was named ambassador to Germany and in 2017 she became the ambassador to Switzerland, a post from which she resigned in 2020 due to differences in views with the Janez Janša government.

Since then she has worked as a business coach in Switzerland, where she met her current partner.

When announcing her candidacy today, Kos expressed hope that the coalition partners Social Democrats (SD) and the Left would support her, but the parties have since said that they would likely be putting forward their own candidates.

SD head Tanja Fajon said the party would be discussing the presidential election on Monday, adding that given the party’s history, tradition and its network it was only appropriate to run with a candidate of its own.

Matej Tašner Vatovec, the deputy group leader of the Left, meanwhile said that the party was discussing ways in which it might take part in the election, after it was initially understood that internal candidacy procedures had been underway.

Kos is the third candidate to formally make the announcement after lawyer Nataša Pirc Musar and psychoanalyst Nina Krajnik. Siol news portal reported today that Anže Logar, the former foreign minister, will enter the race as well.

Moreover, musician Gregor Bezenšek, who runs a charitable foundation collecting funds for children requiring expensive treatments abroad, said today he will be announcing his candidacy next week.

Quizzed about remarks that both her and Pirc Musar were targeting the same group of voters, Kos said that she respected all candidates. “We can all contribute to what has been lacking in Slovenia in recent years – political culture.”

Indications that Kos would enter the race have led Milan Kučan, the formed president who endorsed Pirc Musar, to say it is not good if a single party controls the most important posts in the country.

Golob said these concerns were misguided. “I respect Mr. Kučan, but sometimes even he will put his foot in his mouth,” he said.