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Slovenia - General Elections

Janez Jansa's Democratic Party takes the lead in the general elections in Slovenia but will find it difficult to form a government coalition

Janez Jansa's Democratic Party takes the lead in the general elections in Slovenia but will find it difficult to form a government coalition

05/06/2018 - Results

The Democratic Party (SDS), led by former head of government (2004-2008 and 2012-2013), Janez Jansa, came out ahead in the snap election (by just a few months) which took place on 3rd June in Slovenia. He won 24.94% of the vote and took 25 seats in the Drzavni Zbor (the National Assembly), the lower house of parliament, i.e. four more than in the previous general elections on 13th July 2014.

The Marjan Sarec List (LMS), named after the unfortunate candidate in the last presidential election (22nd October-12th November 2017) with 46.91% of the vote in the 2nd round of voting, came second with 12.65% of the vote and 13 seats.

The Social Democrats (SD), a member of the outgoing government coalition, led by Agriculture, Forests and Foodstuffs Minister and Vice-President of the outgoing government of Dejan Zidan, came third with 9.92% of the vote and 10 seats (+4). They were followed by the Centre Modern Party (SMC) for outgoing Prime Minister Miro Cerar, which recorded a net decline with 9.75% of the vote and 10 seats (-26).

The Left (Levica) led by Luka Mesec came 5th with 9.32% of the vote and 9 seats. Then came New Slovenia (NSi) led by Matej Tonin with 7.13% of the vote and 7 seats (+2) ; the Alenka Bratusek Alliance (ZaAB), a centrist movement led by the former Prime Minister (2013-2014), with 5.12% of the vote and 5 seats (+1); the Democratic Party of Pensioners (DeSUS), a member of the outgoing government coalition, chaired by outgoing Foreign Affairs Minister Karl Erjavec, lost half of its seats with 4.91% of the vote and 5 seats (-5) and finally the National Party (SNS), led by Zmago Jelincic, has made a return to parliament with 4.19% of the vote and 4 seats (+4).

In all, 9 parties will be represented in Parliament, a record in the country's history. Two party leaders, Karl Erjavec and Alenka Bratusek, were not re-elected though on 3rd June.

The Democratic Party won in almost all of the 88 electoral constituencies. The Left achieved its highest scores in Ljubljana and the Marjan Sarec List in Kamnik, of which Marjan Sarec is the mayor.

Just over one Slovenian in two voted: turnout totalled 52.01%, i.e. almost the same as that recorded in the previous elections on 13th July 2014 (51.73%). 53,158 people chose to vote early i.e. 3.1% of the votes on the electoral rolls in Slovenia.

With the slogan "Slovenia First!" and a clearly anti-immigrant discourse the Democratic Party (SDS) won in the ballot box on 3rd June. The party campaigned on the defence of Slovenian identity that it maintains is threatened by the arrival of refugees from the Middle East (notably from Syria and Iraq) or Africa (Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya). During his electoral campaign Janez Jansa was largely inspired by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (FIDESZ-MPP), who also came to give his support on 11th May, the day the Democratic Party launched its campaign. The head of the Hungarian government qualified Janez Jansa as "the guarantor of the Slovenian people."

"Those who gave us their trust voted for a party that is making Slovenia its priority. We have taken a first step for a strong, responsible Slovenia in Europe. We are convinced that a first step has been taken towards the transformation of Slovenia into a country in which well-being and the security of the Slovenians will be a priority," declared Janez Jansa on the announcement of the results. "When we speak of migrants the Democratic Party is playing on velvet, since most Slovenians are rather hostile to migrants and sceptical about their integration," indicated Alem Maksuti, a political analyst from the political management institute.

The Democratic Party will probably find it hard however to form a government coalition. Slovenian tradition has it that the leader of the party that comes out ahead in the general election is asked to form the government. During the electoral campaign the President of the Republic Borut Pahor repeated that he would respect this tradition. "We will probably have to wait some time before any serious negotiations on the new government can start. We do not fear the days to come. We are expecting them with impatience," declared Janez Jansa after the election. Indeed, nearly all of the political parties ruled out taking part in a government coalition with the Democratic Party during the electoral campaign.

The Mayor of Kamnik, a town of 29,000 inhabitants that lies in the country's north, a former actor (he created a farming character called Ivan Serpentinsek) and imitator, Marjan Sarec, whose list came 2nd, indicated that he would not take part in a government that brought parties on the right together. "By spreading the fear of migrants and by bringing in the Prime Minister of a foreign country (Viktor Orban) into the Slovenian general elections, Janez Jansa has crossed a red line," declared Marjan Sarec.

"I want to take part in a government made of parties that support an open, free Slovenia and not be a member of government that will include an extremist party that will defend populism and scare the population," stressed outgoing Prime Minister Miro Cerar. The Social Democrats, the Democratic Party of Pensioners, the Left and the Alenka Bratusek Alliance also said that they would not join the Democratic Party in government. New Slovenia is the only one not to have aligned itself with this position.

If Janez Jansa does not succeed in forming a government coalition, the President of the Republic might ask Marjan Sarec to take over as head of government. "If everyone sticks to what was said during the electoral campaign, we should have an opportunity to form a government," declared the latter. The possibility of forming a government coalition rallying the opponents of Janez Jansa does not seem evident because the left is particularly fragmented. "I expect there to be long negotiations. Undoubtedly, we shall not have a government before September," said Tanja Staric, a political analyst on Radio Slovenia. "The general elections may lead to an Italian-style scenario and fail in the formation of a stable government coalition. The probability of a return to the ballot box is high," indicated Zarko Puhovski, political philosophy professor at the University of Zagreb (Croatia) during the electoral campaign.
Publishing Director: Pascale JOANNIN
The author
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).
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