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Slovenia - General Elections

The centre-right opposition wins by a narrow margin in the general elections

The centre-right opposition wins by a narrow margin in the general elections

03/10/2004 - Results

The Slovenia Coalition comprising the main opposition party, the Democrat Party (SDS), and New Slovenia (Nsi), won the general elections in Slovenia on 3 October by a narrow margin.

The Democrat Party came out on top winning 29.1% of the vote, i.e. 13.3 points more than during the general elections on 15 October 2000. Its coalition partner, Nsi won 8.9% of the vote. Together these two parties won 38 seats, i.e. one more than the three parties of the outgoing coalition. Indeed the ruling Liberal Democrat Party (LDS), who were ahead in the all the pre-election opinion polls won 22.82% of the vote -13.5 points less than four years ago - the United List of Social Democrats (ZLSD) won 10.20% of the vote and the Democratic Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) just managed to rise above the 4% mark, necessary to be represented in Parliament with 4.01% of the vote. Together, the three government coalition parties, who all recorded a regression in comparison with the preceding general elections in October 2000 won 37 seats, i.e. one less that the Slovenia Coalition.

With 6.30% of the vote the National Party (SNS) progressed by 2.2 points and won two additional seats (6) whilst the Popular Party (SLS) recorded a regression winning 6.82% of the vote (-2.7 points) thereby losing two of its nine seats. Finally the Youth Party (SMS) did not manage to rise above the vital 4% mark and lost the four seats that it held in the outgoing parliament.

The participation rate had clearly declined in comparison with 2000, reaching 60.27% i.e. 9.63 points less than four years ago. As political analysts had forecast before the election it appears that this low participation rate played in favour of the opposition forces whose electorate was more motivated and more disciplined, thereby enabling the Democrat Party and New Slovenia to win through.

"This evening Slovenia has chosen a new route. We are all convinced that from now on nothing will be the same again", declared the Democrat Party leader, Janez Jansa when the results were announced. "We shall not employ the electorate's confidence to change everything in the country. By becoming a member of the European Union and NATO Slovenia has passed a test in a way and this new era requires new policy. We shall transform the policy of exclusion that embodied the last twelve years into a policy that will include all of those who want to help the country", he added.

In his rise to the post of Prime Minister forty-six year old Janez Jansa, and president of the Democrat Party since 1993, is at the peak of his political career. The political leader, a sociologist, was excluded from the Communist Youth in 1988 for having written articles against the communist regime and the army of former Yugoslavia. Janez Jansa was arrested and convicted to a prison sentence but along with his three companions was freed in 1989 after massive demonstrations organised by the population. Janez Jansa was also at the head of the defence forces that successfully confronted the Yugoslav army during the short war of independence in Slovenia in June 1991.

Outgoing Prime Minister, forty-four year old Anton Rop, leader of the Liberal Democrat Party admitted defeat on the announcement of the results. "It is clear that the Democrat Party has won the confidence of the majority of the electorate and that the Liberal Democrat Party has taken second place. The Liberal Democrat Party will continue its assignment in opposition in parliament and I can already promise that we shall be back in the next elections, strong and better prepared. I would like to reassure our electorate that although our party is entering the opposition camp we shall fulfil our duty ensuring that those who did vote for us did not waste their vote", he maintained.

In 2002 the Liberal Democrat leader succeeded Janez Drnovsek, who was elected President of the Republic on December 1 the same year. In answer to the critique addressed to him by Janez Jansa, Anton Rop promoted the results he had achieved as head of government as well as the Alpine republic's economic results, whose GDP per inhabitant represents 72% of the European average i.e. a level equal to that of Greece and Portugal. But the Liberal Democrat Party, that has led the country for the past thirteen years, has undoubtedly fallen victim to the wear and tear of power. The LDS probably suffered the absence from its lists of Janez Drnovsek - at present the President of the Republic and founder of the party, likewise the absence of Dimitri Rupel, former Foreign Affairs Ministers who went over to the opposition.

Finally Anton Rop was greatly criticised for his lack of interest in foreign policy - especially as Slovenia is experiencing some problems with its neighbour Croatia. Relations between the two countries worsened recently after Croatia decided to establish, before withdrawing, a controversial fishing zone in the Bay of Piran, an area in the Adriatic Sea where both States oppose one another in an issue of maritime borders. Two weeks ago an incident irrupted on the border when twelve people were arrested on a strip of land on the Istria Peninsula, that is being argued over by the two countries, since they did not present their ID to the Slovene police. In everyone's opinion this incident played in favour of the right, especially Janez Jansa whose determination and strength have proven more reassuring and convincing in the eyes of the population and just as the Slovenes are showing growing disquiet about their identity and their future within the European Union.

The official results of the general elections on 3 October will be published on 13 October next. The President of the Republic, Janez Drnovsek will then appoint the political leader who will form the new government, that is not to occur before November. Although political analysts do not think an alliance between the Slovenia Coalition and the United List of Social Democrats impossible, the National Party and the Popular Party might also play referee in the negotiations between the various political parties that started on Monday morning.

Results of the General Elections on 3 October in Slovenia

Participation rate: 60.27 %

Source: Agence France Presse

* : They automatically have 2 seats
Publishing Director: Pascale JOANNIN
The authors
Corinne Deloy
Author of the European Elections Monitor (EEM) for the Robert Schuman Foundation and project manager at the Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po).
Fondation Robert Schuman
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