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Slovenia's New President Elected Amidst Anti-Corruption Protests

The second round of the 2012 presidential election in Slovenia, in which the former Slovenian PM Borut Pahor defeated the incumbent president Danilo Türk, took place on Dec. 2, amidst ongoing mass protests.

On EurActiv.com, Marko Bucik examined the election campaigns of Pahor and Türk – and commented on the current situation in Slovenia:

[...] Pahor will start his mandate among very tense social and political circumstances. In the past week, numerous mass protests have spread across Slovenia expressing genuine feelings of disappointment and anger about the precarious situation in which Slovenia finds itself merely 21 years after gaining independence.

With the number of those unemployed persistently above 11% and with Slovenia's GDP projected to contract by 2% in 2012 and a further 1.4% in 2013, little optimism is left. The frustrations with the current economic hardship have been further strengthened by perceptions of corruption among the ruling elites, their insensitivity to the population's fears and their inability to cope with the crisis.

[...]

None of the presidential candidates convincingly responded to the social unrest and expression of disaffection that will probably only grow over the coming months. [...]

The official results of the election look like this:

(A Wikipedia entry screenshot.)

On Facebook, Blaž Babič presented a somewhat different picture:

For the fellow readers from abroad. New president of Slovenia Mr. Pahor (“Barbie”) won with the votes of 27,7% of the electorate.

The minority of 13,4% wanted to reelect former president Türk.

Those figures are so low because the electorate is fed up with false choices – only 42% did bother to cast a vote at all.

Conclusion – over 72,3% of the electorate did not elect the new president who ran the campaign under the slogan “Together!”.

Babič added:

14.546 ballots were “invalid”. That's 2% of all votes cast.

Majority of them had two ex-post-commy candidates stricken out and option 3. Gotof Si (you're finished) added.

“Gotof si!” is also the last fashion motto of the protest against the corrupt elite.

A screenshot of the Facebook page [sl] of the “Gotof je” protest: “A community for a new Slovenia. Enough of corruption, nepotism, clientelism! WE ARE SLOVENIA”

Dr. Filomena commented on the recent rallies:

[...] Right now, protests are being held in various places around the country, aimed against politics in general, against politicians who have been unable to steer the country clear of the continuously deepening crisis. The protests are spontaneous and no politician or political party dares claim them as their own. They do, however, try to pin them onto others, much to the disgust of the protesters. [...]

Ljubljana, Slovenia: Protesters give flowers to the police during a peaceful protest that later turned violent. Photo by Nina Blaž, copyright © Demotix (30/11/2012).

Piran Café shared a photo report from the Nov. 30 rally in the capital city of Ljubljana, which ended in violence:

[...] Upwards of 10,000 people gathered in Ljubljana yesterday, one of seven Slovenian cities where hastily organized demonstrations took place to protest what’s perceived as widespread fraud and corruption, austerity measures, and the economic reform policies of the center-right government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa. Here in the capital, the demonstration began at 4 pm in Kongresni Trg, or Congress Square, before moving a couple hours later towards Trg Republike, or Republic Square, near Parliament. Protesters were loud and at times blunt, but peaceful. Police stationed near Parliament were relaxed –certainly much more than they were on Tuesday – some of them exchanging banter and conversation with demonstrators. Many were wearing carnations given to them by protesters whose chants included, ‘higher salaries for police’.

I left at about 6:30; an hour later the mood shifted dramatically. Provocateurs, described by many on the scene as well organized and numbering perhaps four to five dozen, began throwing bottles, rocks, bricks and fireworks. Under the spotlight of a helicopter, police soon responded with tear gas. When the rock-throwing idiots were eventually forced from Republic Square and back towards Congress Square, the water cannon was brought in. At night’s end, 33 were arrested and 18 treated for injuries at local hospitals. [...]

Water cannons were used against the protesters during the Nov. 30 protest in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Photo by Luka Dakskobler, copyright © Demotix (30/11/2012).

Another photo report from the Nov. 30 Ljubljana rally was posted on Suncan's Daily Photo:

[...] And then a gang of some 50 (they say) covered up bastards rushed into the crowd and started throwing everything (and yes, they came well prepared) they had in their pockets at the police and the crowd. As someone I know very well (and who I totally believe would not be making up this) described: A guy was standing close to me, and he said into the phone. ‘Ok, it is all ready. Come in now’ And then a gang of what she described as highly organised covered up people rushed into the crowd, just a few meters away from me. And that was when all hell broke loose.

So, my honest opinion is: No it wasn't the protesters fault. No, it wasn't the police's fault (I know it sounds weird coming from under the fingers of somebody who does not believe in any repressive government bodies). It was the fault of a few dozen highly organised mercenaries (I have no idea what to call them, but from the description of their actions I do have a feeling that they were paid for this action, so I will use the word mercenary.) As far as I am concerned the main question is: Who paid them?

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