STA, 13 February 2019 - The party of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec (LMŠ) has decided to run independently in the 26 May elections to the European Parliament, while the Modern Centre Party (SMC) and Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) will try to field a joint list of candidates.
SMC leader Miro Cerar and Bratušek announced the news after Wednesday's meeting of the leaders of the three Slovenian members of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).
Cerar said the meeting was over in 15 minutes, after Šarec told them his party wanted to contest the Euro election on its own. Bratušek said this was said to be the desire of LMŠ membership.
"We told him we'd want us to run together because we believe the liberal story is important for Europe," said Cerar.
He and Bratušek agreed to propose to their parties to form a joint list of candidates because they believe that together they could be stronger and more convincing.
The LMŠ's decision might have been prompted by its high voter approval ratings at the moment, with some polls indicating the party enjoys the biggest popularity among all parties.
However, Šarec said they were not entering the EU elections on their own "just because we might be complacent about poll results. We are driven by one desire only. We want to change Slovenia and Europe as well."
He looked back at the LMŠ's stellar rise from a local party in Kamnik to his forming Slovenia's first ever minority government against the odds and despite claims that the party lacked a platform and staff.
"The elections ahead are a new opportunity for us to prove what we can." Šarec said they wanted to have their fate in their hands, and however they fare they would be responsible for their result themselves.
Despite Slovenia's small size, Šarec said the country wanted its voice heard in the EU. "We're not promising the impossible ... but we will do our best to show people it's worth trying for a better Europe."
Bratušek found the meeting a disappointment. She said she could have heard what she heard at the meeting over the phone.
"It's our strong belief that the SMC and SAB are capable of compiling a quality slate and achieving an excellent result in the election," she said.
Unofficial information prior to today's meeting indicated that the LMŠ wanted to have the top three spots on a joint list of candidates and the option to veto the candidates of the other two parties.
Cerar had said before that his party's condition in forming the joint list was that all three parties should negotiate as equal partners.
Today, Šarec said that there had been strong pressure for the three parties to run in the elections together from other European ALDE parties ad well as from Slovenia.
Asked whether the SMC and SAB would now invite the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) to join them for the EU elections, Bratušek said the two parties needed to agree technicalities first but that they had discussed that it was in their interest to invite another party.