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Zala Tomašič: I Brought The American Style Of Campaigning, Which Is Focused On The Voter

“In past interviews, it has been pointed out several times that I spent four years in the USA, doing an internship in the Senate. There, I was in contact with American politics. In my opinion, I have then transferred this American style of campaigning to Slovenia, where the voter is the focus, not the politician,” Zala Tomašič summarised the essence of her electoral success.

In the latest edition of the show Interview (“Intervju”), presenter Aleksander Rant hosted Zala Tomašič, the newly-elected Member of the European Parliament from the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS). Rant talked to his guest about the European elections, the campaign and the surprises of the elections. He recalled her election campaign, the fact that she visited every statistical region, that she was in 30 different places, and her mobile cafés. “You sat down and talked to voters.”

Tomašič: “In past interviews, it has been pointed out several times that I spent four years in the USA, doing an internship in the Senate. There, I was in contact with American politics. In my opinion, I have then transferred this American style of campaigning to Slovenia, where the voter is the focus, not the politician.” She also took her campaign very seriously.

The success of mobile cafés

While looking for ways to get in touch with people, her team came up with cafés where they wanted to put the emphasis on the experience. “Who would say no to free coffee, tea or lemonade? And at the same time, even if they were in a hurry, everyone had to wait at least a few minutes to be served. And it was a great success, people loved it!” She took a couple of hours each time to talk to people, etc. Rant also wanted to know if she got any insights from talking to the electorate.

“Young people came to me with specific questions”

Rant: “What do people hope for, what do they expect from the next mandate of the European Parliament?” Zala noticed that there is still no separation between topics related to EU policy and those that are the responsibility of the Slovenian government. “There has been a lot of disappointment with the government, but I have to say that our cafés have also attracted voters who are not traditional SDS party voters.” At the same time, she was surprised by the considerable interest in EU politics, especially among young people.

She noticed that young people approached her with specific questions. They often had a list on their phone and asked her very pertinent questions about the European Union, the EU Treaties, etc. They were closely following substantive matters. She admitted that the campaign was exhausting, as she was on the ground from morning to evening every day for 30 days. She also used her down time for the bureaucracy brought by the cafés.

“I am grateful to the SDS party and President Janša for allowing us to campaign in this way”

She was especially happy to see the people who met her team on the ground and helped her set up her stand. “I am very grateful to my party and to the President of the SDS party, Janez Janša, for allowing us to run such a campaign, so that we could go into something different.” Rant recalled that Tomašič was almost entirely absent from the traditional media, but still achieved a remarkable result.

The key to success: presence on the ground and social networks

Rant: “How so? Some of them were much more present in newspapers, on the radio, at pre-election debates on TV, but today they are not in the European Parliament!” Tomašič attributes this to her strong presence on the ground. At the same time, she has greatly increased her reach to voters, especially young people, through social networks. And because she is a positive person, she wanted her campaign to be that way, too. “A community of people has been built up around me, and they have come to me and said, ‘We hope we succeed’. It was always plural.”

Social networks: originality, honesty and accessibility

“We’ve been able to build a community of supporters from the ground, through social networks. I’ve tried to make myself known as much as possible, show things from behind the scenes, try to open up more, show who I am, etc.” Televised discussions are also important, but the candidate’s role there is more formal, and he or she is surrounded by political opponents. But social media can be a better way to show who you are as a “person, not just a politician”. For example, the “electric drill” video (which you can watch here: was an original idea that many people still remember even after the elections.

Nova24TV Director Tomašič kept a professional distance from his daughter

The accusations that Zala Tomašič was unfairly privileged at Nova24TV are not true. During the last three weeks of the campaign, she was virtually absent from the media. She also did not start hosting the show she used to host because of the European elections. But she intends to justify her pre-election enthusiasm by working hard in the European Parliament. Meanwhile, Director of Nova24TV, Boris Tomašič, also kept a professional distance from his daughter during the campaign.

Zala: “I wouldn’t want to succeed because of family connections!”

Zala was also absent from the televised discussions led by Rant. Tomašič: “I wouldn’t want to succeed because of family connections either.” The end result, she says, is the fruit of years of hard work. Her international experience convinced many voters. She has also responded to attempts to characterise her as “far right”. Anyone who has followed her broadcasts and her campaign, however, knows that such accusations have no basis.

The media want to label her an extremist, but that is in vain

She herself supports moderate values, but the same criteria should be used for both left- and right-wing extremism. The media focuses mainly on the right-wing political extremes and deliberately ignores the left-wing extremes. Tomašič: “These accusations have no basis, but they are attempts to discredit me which have been here from the start. However, the media have found nothing on me.” She is especially grateful to the 1st of October Institute (Inštitut 1. oktober) for their support, as well as to all the people who voted for her. Rant then added that “the Institute has decided to invest in the future …”

A Europe independent from Russia, China and the USA

Even after the elections, Zala intends to continue to focus on LGBTQ+ propaganda, gender ideology, migration, etc., and to stay in touch with people through social media, even responding to them if possible. She would also like to advocate for the de-bureaucratisation of Brussels politics, so that decisions could come faster.

There are similar problems with bureaucracy in Slovenia. She intends to focus on foreign policy, independence from China, Russia and the USA, because a dependent Europe is weaker. She will also focus on human rights, protecting children from LGBTQ+ ideology, electoral fraud (in the cybernetics area), the plight of pensioners, migration, etc.

Domen Mezeg

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