The government in Slovenia is under increasing political pressure.
Originally, the cabinet was formed in November 2008 following the September legislative election. The government was a four-party coalition led by Borut Pahor of the Social Democrats and including Zares (new politics, centre-left), DeSus (Democratic Party of Retired People of Slovenia) and the Liberal Democrats. The coalition enjoyed the support of 50 of the 90 seats in the parliament, though parlgov reports that it won the support of 56 deputies in the investiture vote.
In May 2008 DeSus left the coalition. Now, Zares is leaving the coalition. In theory, this leaves the coalition with the support of only 34 deputies. The Slovenian Press Agency is reporting PM Pahor as saying that he will stay on as long as he has the confidence of the Assembly, but a snap election looks likely.
On Sunday 5 June Slovenia held three referendums.
The Slovenian Electoral Commission is reporting the following results:
Referendum on the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance
Yes – 27.83%
No – 72.17%
Referendum on the Law Amending the Law on Protection of Documents and Archives and Archival
Yes – 29.00%
No – 71.00%
Referendum on the reform of the pension system
Yes – 24.47%
No – 75.53%
So, all three government-sponsored reforms were defeated. The results have weakened the government. There is now talk of a reshuffle or a snap election.
On Sunday Slovenia held its second referendum of the year.
The vote took place to ratify the RTV Slovenija Act, which was designed to change the status of the public broadcasting company. The Act aimed to reverse a previous reform had been approved in a referendum in 2005.
Anyway, this time the referendum failed. Slovenia Times is reporting that the turnout was only 14.6% and that the ‘no’ vote won 72.6% of the votes cast.
The low turnout and the result is being seen as a vote against the incumbent government.
This was Slovenia’s 14th referendum since independence. Information about most of these referendums is available here.
The second round of local elections were held in Slovenia on Sunday. There is a two-round system and a second ballot was required in 74 municipalities.
The turnout was 48.8 per cent, according to the Slovenian Electoral Commission. While this is clearly a second-order election, there seems to be little coherent picture emerging. In some places, independents did well, which confirms a certain trend from the first round. However, often the ‘independent’ candidates are actually close to established parties.
Rational choice theorists will be delighted to learn that in one election there was a tied vote. Ah, the rationality of voting.
The results of the different municipalities are available here.
On Sunday, local elections were held in Slovenia. As ever, they were considered, in some senses, a test of the government’s popularity. The next legislative election is due to be held in 2012. The current government is a coalition led by the Social Democrats (SD) and including Zares, the Liberal Democracy (LDS), and Desus.
The Slovenia Electoral Commission is reporting (if my Slovenian is correct) that the turnout was 45.23% in terms of valid votes cast. This is a decline of about 13% from the previous local elections. District-by-district results are available here.
On the basis of preliminary results, Reuters is reporting that the SD won about the same level of support (12%) that it won at the 2006 local elections. However, this figure is much lower than the 30% that it won at the 2008 general election. The opposition Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) won about 19% of the vote, slightly up on its 2006 figure.
As ever, local elections are likely to be a poor guide to national elections. For example, in the capital, Ljubljana, independent candidate Zoran Janković was re-elected winning 64.78% of the vote. However, he supports the government and, in any case, his candidacy will have taken votes from the SD and other parties too.
Given SD is poorly implanted at the local level and given the party’s performance, the results are not being seen as either a major vote against the incumbent government or a resounding endorsement of its policies.
There is an overview of results in English at Slovenia Times.
A referendum was held in Slovenia on 6 June. It was held to decide whether a treaty aimed at resolving Slovenia’s dispute with Croatia over their respective maritime border should be approved or not. The treaty would put the matter to an international arbitration tribunal whose decision would be binding.
Slovenia Times reports that the parties split on a left-right basis. The right-wing opposition was opposed to the treaty. The centre-left government was in favour.
In the end, the referendum was approved by 51.48% of those who voted with a 42.28% turnout.
President Danilo Tuerk of Slovenia faced an impeachment vote in parliament yesterday. The motion to dismiss the president (on the basis of Art. 109 of the 1991 Constitution) was tabled on 28 January by the opposition Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) and the Slovenian People’s Party (SLS). Slovenia Times reports that the vote against the president yesterday evening was 32-52.
A report by the Slovenian Press Agency gives some background. Apparently the two opposition parties were annoyed that the president decorated Tomaz Ertl, a former chief of the communist secret police, whom they accused of having violated human rights. Indeed, the opposition accused the president of breaking no fewer than 34 articles of the constitution in so doing. In his defense, President Tuerk is reported as saying that he was not decorating Ertl’s whole life, but only “his efforts as the head of a police operation that prevented a rally by Serb nationalists in Ljubljana in 1989”.
Currently, the government is led by the Social Democrats (SD) who are in coalition with Zares and Liberal Democracy (LDS), as well as the pensioners’ party DeSus. The government has a small majority in parliament.
President Tuerk was elected in June 2007. He stood as an independent (and for cohabitation or non-cohabitation purposes I record him as such), but he was clearly the candidate of the left and won the election against another independent candidate, but one who was equally clearly supported by the right-wing SDS and SLS.
In a separate development, the leader of DeSus, Karl Erjavec ,was obliged to resign his position as Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning on 26 January as the result of issues relating to alleged financial mismanagement. He was replaced by another DeSus representative. So, the coalition remains intact.
It is tempting to think that the impeachment vote, which was tabled just after this resignation, was at least part of a general strategy to destabilise the government further and perhaps precipitate a change.
This is a series of posts that records the cases of cohabitation in countries with semi-presidential constitutions. Cohabitation is defined as the situation where the president and prime minister are from different parties and where the president’s party is not represented in the cabinet. Presidents classed as non-party cannot generate any periods of cohabitation.
Here is my list of cohabitations in Slovenia:
Dec 2004 – Jan 2006
President – Janez Drnovšek (LDS); PM – Janez Janša (SDS); Coalition – SDS, NSi, SLS, DeSUS
Dec 2012 – March 2013
President – Borut Pahor (SD); PM – Janez Janša (SDS); Coalition – SDS, NSi, SLS, DeSUS, LGV
Like Slovakia, the first Slovenian case of cohabitation is a slightly difficult one. President Drnovšek was a member of the LDS party. However, according to Wikipedia, on January 30, 2006, he left the LDS and founded the Movement for Justice and Development. This was a civil society organisation. So, in effect, I assume Wikipedia is correct and I treat Drnovšek as non-partisan from this point. However, he remained in office until December 2007. So, the period of cohabitation could be extended to this point. There is some detail on the president’s involvement with the Movement for Justice and Development group in the EJPR, vol. 46, 2007, p. 1111.
- DeSUS – Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (Demokratična stranka upokojencev Slovenije)
- LDS – Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (Liberalna Demokracija Slovenije)
- LGV – Gregor Virant’s Civic List
- NSi – New Slovenia (Nova Slovenija)
- SD – Social Democrats
- SDS – Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka)
- SLS – Slovenian People’s Party (Slovenska ljudska stranka)
Source of affiliations:
The EP election was held in Slovenia on Sunday.
The turnout was 20.9%. The EU is reporting the following results (2004 in brackets):
SDS : SLOVENSKA DEMOKRATSKA STRANKA (Slovenian Democratic Party) – 26.9%, 2 seats (17.6%, 2)
SD : SOCIALNI DEMOKRATI (Social Democrats) – 18.5%, 2 seats (14.1%, 1)
N.Si : NOVA SLOVENIJA – KRŠČANSKA LJUDSKA STRANKA (New Slovenia – Christian People’s Party) – 16.3%, 1 seat (23.6%, 2)
LDS : LIBERALNA DEMOKRACIJA SLOVENIJE (Liberal Democracy of Slovenia) – 11.5%, 1 seat (21.9%, 2)
ZARES (“For Real” centre-left social liberal) – 9.8%, 1 seat (split from LDS in 2007)
DeSUS : DEMOKRATIČNA STRANKA UPOKOJENCEV SLOVENIJE (Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia) – 7.2%, 0 seats
SNS : SLOVENSKA NACIONALNA STRANKA (Slovene National Party) – 2.9%, 0 seats (5%, 0)
SLS : SLOVENSKA LJUDSKA STRANKA (Slovenian People’s Party) – 3.6%, 0 seats (8.4%, 0)
SMS : STRANKA MLADIH SLOVENIJE (Youth Party of Slovenia) – 1.9%, 0 seats (2.3%, 0)
The ruling coalition dates back to the legislative election in September 2008 (see previous post) and comprises the Social Democrats, ZARES, LDS, and DeSUS. Support for the Social Democrats has fallen hugely since then, which is in line with the trend across the EU. That said, support for the centre-left LDS was up considerably from 2008 and support for ZARES and DeSUS also held up. So, there was a realignment within the ruling coalition. The opposition SDS did slightly worse than its 2008 result. The big winner was New Slovenia, which is a right-wing opposition party that was formed by a split from the SDS, but which would not be a nationalist party of the sort that has done so well in some other countries. So, while support for the SDS did decline, this result confirms a shift to the right in Slovenia consistent with general European trends.
A paper on the 2004 EP election Slovenia is available here.
Following recent elections, there are new governments in Lithuania and Slovenia.
In Lithuania, Andrius Kubilius, leader of the conservative Homeland Union- Lithuanian Christian Democrats, will be the new prime minister. He will head a four-party with three other centre-right parties, the Liberal and Center Union, the National Resurrection Party and the Liberal Movement. The coalition will have 79 of the 141 seats in parliament.
In Slovenia, the Social Democrat leader, Borut Pahor, is the new prime minister. He heads a four-party coalition that was approved by the Slovenian parliament last Friday. In addition to the Social Democrats, the other parties are two centre-left parties, Zares and Liberal Democracy (LDS), as well as the pensioners’ party Desus. The coalition will have the support of 50 of the 90 seats in parliament.