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Nov 12, 2007 19:07 EEST
November 12 (SeeNews) - The victory of Danilo Turk, supported by centre-left parties, at Slovenia’s presidential elections shows a clear decline in voters’ support for the centre-right coalition government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa, analysts say.
Turk, a former senior U.N. diplomat, won 68.23% support in Sunday’s run-off vote, according to preliminary data released by the State Election Commission. His rival, Lojze Peterle, backed by three major parties from the centre-right government coalition, received only 31.77% support. The commission is expected to release final results on November 20 or 21.
“I think that the gap (between Turk and Peterle) is quite big but also understandable [...] I think that Danilo Turk won mainly as anti-Peterle and anti-Jansa,” Meta Roglic, a journalist at daily Dnevnik, told SeeNews.
“A stronger and stronger anti-government atmosphere appears [...] It shows that the government coalition is losing [...] and the left wing is now a majority,” Roglic said.
“Everything shows that voters are turning away from this government coalition,” she added. Roglic said that Peterle’s "negative campaign" contributed to this result.
Janez Markes, editor-in-chief of local daily Delo, agreed, saying: “In the second round Peterle turned the campaign into a negative one and it was decisive [...] It showed that what he talked in the first round, he didn’t believe seriously and the negative campaign itself produced this result,” Markes said. He added that Peterle’s negative campaign forced people to define themselves in respect of the government.
Public opinion shows that the support for the government is the lowest now, while a year after the government came to power it had 65% support. “At this moment the government faces high inflation and other structural problems and this rating (of support) is significantly lower,” Markes said.
Slovenia's October consumer price index (CPI), calculated under EU methodology, rose by 5.1% year-on-year, and was up 0.7% from a month earlier.
Roglic agreed that inflation rate was one of the main reasons for the falling support for the government. “Inflation is one of these factors that voters feel most,” she said.
However, analysts are not sure if this is a signal that centre-left parties will win at parliamentary elections due in the autumn of 2008.
“It is difficult to say if voters will go towards the left,” Roglic said.
“The results could be different because they (voters) will define themselves in respect of each party,” Markes said.
However, both Roglic and Markes think that it will be hard for the government to win back the voters’ support.
Slovenia holds the prestigious rotating presidency of the EU in the first half of 2008 but the experience of countries which have led the EU shows that it does not influence voters significantly, Markes said.
“If the government cut the inflation rate drastically, if it shows some perspective for people to have a better living standard, then no doubt (the government will bring back the support). But if it does not, I doubt a lot,” he added.
Roglic agreed: “The trend of falling is difficult to stop.”
Analysts expect Turk to carry out his job professionally and, unlike current president Janez Drnovsek, to have no clashes with the government.
“I don’t think that he will sharpen his attitude to the government,” Roglic said.
“I think that he will be constructive with the government but will not let to be influenced by the government’s desires [...] I think that he will try to defend his independence,” Markes said.
“He has shown his will to be independent, not connected to the everyday politics but to the state. If he carries it out the way he has put it, I think that it will be a very successful mandate,” Markes added.
Markes said that Turk showed himself as a type of politician who is neither close to leftists nor anti-rightist.
“I think that what is significant is that at these elections people showed that they want to have a stable safe future directed to the centre. It is the main message of these elections,” he said.
Slovenia is a parliamentary republic. Its president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces but overall the head of state has limited powers and the post is largely ceremonial.
The president is limited to two consecutive five-year terms of office. The term of office of incumbent Drnovsek expires in December.
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