On 3rd June, Slovenian citizens will be called to elect the country’s National Assembly for the next four years. The National Assembly is technically the lower house of Parliament, but Slovenian bicameralism was never completed. The Assembly therefore reprsents the primary legislative organ of the country.
The Slovenian Electoral System
Voters will elect the ninety deputies of the Assembly through a mixed system: 88 of these are elected through party-list proportional representation across eight constituencies, each of them composed of eleven seats. The remaining two members of the Assembly are elected through a first past the post system by the Italian and Hungarian minorities respectively; these deputies hold an absolute veto in matters concerning their ethnic groups. Finally, there is an electoral threshold of 4% for parties wishing to get into Parliament.
Several parties will compete for seats, although nobody currently holds the numbers required to form a government without broad coalitions.
1 – The Slovenian Democrats
The Democrats rank among the oldest Slovenian parties, and spent the past four years in opposition. This party was originally a social democratic one, but has since shifted firmly to the rightt The SDS looks to Donald Trump as a model and enjoys the official endorsement of Viktor Orban, which has raised eyebrows in Slovenia and abroad. It runs on a platform that opposes immigration and offers a mix of economic deregulation and social conservatism. Under the slogan “Slovenia first” the Democrats promise lower taxes and higher pensions, with an emphasis on traditional family values. Their candidate, Janez Janša, has led the party for over twenty-five years.
2 – The List for Marjan Sarec
The List is a party founded and headed by a former comedian and journalist. The party is four years old and will be contesting general elections for the first time, bringing far-reaching proposals to the table. The catch-all party wants to introduce preferential voting, scrap the upper chamber and give more powers to the Prime Minister. The List supports universal basic income, wants to fight climate change and opposes privatising strategic firms – but is in favour of a balanced budget and the reduction of debt, as well as private pension schemes.
Their leader, Sarec, is a practicing catholic who supports abortion, the legalization of cannabis and tolerance for LGBT people, and believes true socialism can be found in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
3 – The Best of the Rest
A plethora of smaller parties vies for scraps behind the two most prominent contestants. Chief among these are the Social Democrats, with a bread and butter center left programme aimed at tackling social inequality. Their coalition partners in the previous government, the Modern Center Right, are even further behind: this social liberal, centrist party participated in elections for the very first time in 2014, winning a whopping 34% of votes and forming a government. They have experienced a near-total collapse of support.
Current polls see the Slovenian Democrats in the lead with 15%, followed by the List for Marjan Sarec at just under 8%. It is to be noted that polls have reported somewhat varying figures and that over 20% of the electorate still counts as undecided. In polls that do not include the “undecided” option, the Democrats are closer to 25% predicted support – which would still require the creation of a coalition to form a government.
Most Slovenian parties have expressed reservations on the possibility of a coalition with the Democrats, labeling them as radicals. The party’s ties to Orban and indirectly to Putin are a cause of nervousness and it’s likely that the Democrats will have to look to the far right for support. Sarec’s List is available to coalition deals with anyone who is not involved in corruption scandals.