New political movement emerges

Ljubljana – A new political movement called Povežimo Slovenijo (Unite Slovenia) has emerged. The initiative is wants to bring together a number of smaller, non-parliamentary parties, groups, local initiatives and individuals of various values and political stances to form a joint slate for the next general elections.

The movement’s programme and its cooperation strategy is based on Slovenia’s constitution and has been modelled on such projects abroad, most notably in Austria and Switzerland where big-tent pre-election coalitions are frequent.

The initiator and coordinator of the movement is vice president of the Greens Nada Pavšer, who believes that the emerging list could get at least 20% in the next election.

The response so far has been very positive, she told today’s press conference presenting the initiative. The Greens head Andrej Čuš thinks the movement will be a success story.

He highlighted that there had been enough negative stories and suggested that the movement would appeal to undecided voters by striving to overcome political polarisation. The movement is to nominate its own candidate for prime minister.

The initiative aims to give a voice to civil society and not only politicians, and back good proposals regardless of their source, he said.

The Greens executive committee and the People’s Party (SLS) main committee have already confirmed their cooperation in the initiative, he added.

Marjan Podobnik of the SLS believes that such cooperation could be welcomed by voters who have not been casting their ballots in recent years.

Among a host of public figures and parties that are reportedly discussing cooperation with the movement are the New People’s Party of former Maribor mayor Franc Kangler, the list of Celje Mayor Bojan Šrot, Koper Mayor Aleš Bržan’s list as well as Zdravko Počivalšek, the leader of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC).

Počivalšek, whose party has been ranking low in opinion polls for months, said in the movement’s presentational video that “every act of cooperation within the political centre is beneficial and necessary to reach equilibrium in our political arena”.

“The SMC also works on bringing together the liberal centre,” he said.

Among those who also featured in the video were the president’s adviser and former Constitutional Court judge Ernest Petrič, Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) head Branko Meh, the head of the Pensioners’ Association (ZDUS) Janez Sušnik, head of an inter-municipal association of the blind and visually-impaired of Slovenia Luj Šprohar, musician Oto Pestner, and judoka Lucija Polavder.

The former head of the Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS) Aleksandra Pivec confirmed for RTV Slovenija yesterday that she had discussed potential cooperation with the initiative, however her primary plan remains to form her own party.

At this stage the emerging party is not entering any movement, she said, but it will be willing to cooperate.