Ljubljana related

08 Apr 2019, 15:15 PM

STA, 6 April 2019 - Some 200 delegates gathered for the founding congress of the new far-right party in Ljubljana on Saturday. The first project of the Homeland League (Domovinska Liga), using the acronym DOM (home), will be standing in the EU election.

Bernard Brščič, a former senior aide to opposition Democrats (SDS) leader Janez Janša who works as an economist for power grid operator Eles, was elected president today.

Lucija Šikovec Ušaj, a lawyer who ran on the SDS ticket in the general election but later left the party because she thought it was too soft on migrations, was elected vice president.

Brščič told the press after the congress that DOM had no "uncles from behind the scenes". "This is not a project of Milan Kučan nor Janez Janša nor Vladimir Putin. It's an own-grown project that has emerged because the situation in the Slovenian political arena and in Europe is mature for the kind of platform DOM offers," he said.

The motto of the new party is Forward Slovenia. "We will always claim that the mission of the Slovenian state is to provide for the safety and well-being of Slovenian citizens. We also see the EU as a means to this end and not a goal, and we judge it by the way it contributes to the safety and well-being of Slovenian citizens."

"We claim that Slovenia is our homeland and we will not share it with anyone," said Brščič, a leading ideologue of the Slovenian alt-right.

The party, which was officially registered on 26 February, has already started collecting signatures of support for its candidacy in the upcoming EU election. The party's list of candidates will include Brščič and Šikovec Ušaj, but no other candidates have been revealed.

According to Brščič, DOM does not plan to join the European People's Party (EPP) but offer a new platform. The party is modelled on the Italian League and Fidesz in Hungary.

The party also elected an eight-member executive board and the secretary general today.

12 Mar 2019, 10:20 AM

STA, 9 March 2019 - Addressing a ceremony marking 30 years since the formation of the Democrats' (SDS) precursor, Janez Janša said the SDS had stayed true to itself, its values and Slovenia even in the most challenging times. "The SDS stands for democracy and is against any totalitarianism," the party head stressed in Ljubljana on Saturday.

Janša said the party was therefore always ready to cooperate with anyone who shared this view for the benefit of Slovenia. "A party that votes against the European Parliament's resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism is not a democratic party," he added.

In the light of the EU elections, Janša stressed the importance of the EU and its future. "Perhaps never in the years since independence in 1991 have we celebrated our birthday in a time when the future ahead was so open and unpredictable. So many different possibilities lie before us. Not all of them are good," he said.

According to Janša, there is a time for every community, every nation when they need to reconsider their place in the world and such a time has come for Europe.

"The EU is strong because it gives priority to rules and the rule of law and not the rule of the stronger," Janša said, adding that the biggest threat to the rule of law were double standards.

One of such example is when EU institutions very quickly detect "actual or imaginary violations in some member states, especially in those where conservative or Christian democratic parties are on power," he said.

Janša believes it is time to opt for "a Europe that Slovenians voted for in the 2003 referendum, a Europe of European civilisation and culture that protects human rights and fundamental freedoms."

The SDS head believes that the key challenge of the new European Parliament after the economic and migration crises and Brexit will be political stabilisation, which will entail upgrading the EU's defence system and monetary policy.

Touching on the EPP's threats that Hungary's Fidesz may be expelled from the group, Janša expressed hope that "this argument in our family will be resolved as soon as possible with a smart compromise, without using force."

He believes the EPP should focus on ways to ensure prosperity for all in Europe, protect the borders and provide for the security of Europeans.

The SDS celebrates today the anniversary of the founding of the Slovenian Democratic Union (SDZ) and the Social Democratic Union of Slovenia (SDZS), which are considered its precursors.

The two parties emerged from the so-called spring movements, calling for democratisation and Slovenia's independence.

Janša said that when the two parties merged the "biggest and the most successful party in Slovenia's history" had been formed, which had so far won eight elections.

For three decades, the party has been "the main pillar of Slovenia's independence, an indivisible part of the fight for democratic transformation and Slovenia's inclusion in the European civilisation's flows," Janša said.

The event at the Cankarjev Dom centre was also addressed by the European People's Party (EPP) Spitzenkandidat for the EU vote, Manfred Weber, who warned against the danger of nationalism in Europe.

Europe is much more than just laws and must provide concrete answers to concrete challenges, including migrations, he said. He also stressed the importance of a shared culture that is based on Christian values.

All our stories on politics in Slovenia are here, while those on Janez Janša are here

18 Feb 2019, 10:20 AM

STA, 16 February - Alenka Bratušek was unanimously re-elected to lead the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), as more than 200 delegates got together for an electoral congress in Ljubljana on Saturday, four and a half years after the party was established. She was the only candidate for the post.

Addressing the delegates before the vote, Bratušek said the packed Old Power Station was proof the SAB was there to stay after it had already made a mark in politics.

"We're proud of our achievements ... nothing was given to us, what is more, many have tried to undermine us. That's why we are still here and even stronger."

She also reiterated the coalition party would insist on the government taking measures to improve the pensioners' financial standing and the situation in healthcare.

The party, which has three ministers and five MPs, will also push for improving the situation in public education, for a successful economy and human rights.

Bratušek said that as party president she "will always put first the state, people and our common goals which will make Slovenia a better place".

She recalled the time when she entered politics, including when she took over as prime minister (March 2013-September 2014) at the time of the deepest economic crisis.

Thanking all who had helped her and contributed to Slovenia's exiting the crisis, Bratušek could not avoid mentioning the massive bank bail-out in late 2013.

She admitted it had not been easy to decide to inject five billion euro into the banking system, "yet it was necessary if we wanted to avoid the troika and bankruptcy".

However, she was critical that those who had caused the massive bank shortfall had not yet been brought to justice.

She said those who should have been punished were now using the media to divert attention from the bank shortfall to those who had helped save the country.

"We're talking about those who solved the problem instead of those who became rich due to the bank shortfall or sank our flagship companies," she said.

The congress also elected four vice-president; MP Maša Kociper was re-elected and joined by Tatjana Voj, Slavko Šterman and Cohesion Minister Iztok Purič.

Marko Bandelli, who had had to step down as cohesion minister because of interference in the campaign for local elections last year, did not stand for re-election.

To support the fellow coalition party, senior representatives of three coalition parties attended the congress: SD leader Dejan Židan, and the SMC and LMŠ vice-presidents, Lilijana Kozlovič and Jerca Korče.

Židan recalled the times when Bratušek led the government, a member of which was also his Social Democrats (SD), noting they worked together during the hardest of times.

"We had the courage to rescue Slovenia, and this means we respect each other," said Židan.

Several of the speakers at the congress highlighted Bratušek's strong personality, notably her determination, self-confidence and courage, especially when had led the country.

14 Feb 2019, 10:30 AM

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.

Related: Elections 2018, Party Profiles - Šarec Aims to Benefit From Voter Discontent (Feature)

"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."

Related: Elections 2018, Party Profiles - SMC – “Lukewarm Centrists” (Feature)

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."

Related:

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.

14 Jan 2019, 11:45 AM

STA, 14 January 2018 - The party of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec has gained ground in the latest poll run by the newspaper Delo to reduce the gap separating it from the top ranking opposition Democrats (SDS) to 2.3 percentage points.

 

Having dominated the rankings for more than half a year, the SDS lost almost two percentage points from the month before to 16.2%, whereas the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) jumped more than 5 points to 13.9%.

This means that the margin between the SDS, the plurality winner of the June general election, and the runner-up LMŠ was reduced more than four-fold from ten points in December.

The Left, the government's partner in the opposition, trails at 6.8%, which is roughly level with the month before, but the party has advanced from fourth to third.

This was as the Social Democrats (SD) slipped back from second to fourth spot after losing four points to 6.5%.

Our guides to most of Slovenia’s many political parties can be found here

Delo notes that this is the first time since the June election that the poll has showed major differences in rankings between the five coalition parties.

The Modern Centre Party (SMC) of Foreign Minister Miro Cerar has lost over one percentage point to 3.7%.

The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) ranks fifth on 5.4%, 1.2 points up from the month before, followed by the National Party (SNS) on 4.1%, up 0.9 points.

Meanwhile, the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) changed places so that the SAB now polled at 3.4% and DeSUS at 2%.

The non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS) lost 2.5 points to 3%.

The proportion of undecided increased to more than a fifth (21.2%) with a further 7.1% saying they would not vote for any of the parties and 2.6% not wishing to answer the question.

The voter approval rating for the government and parliament also improved to 3.09 and 2.81 on a scale of one to five, from 3.01 and 2.72, respectively, the month before.

President Borut Pahor continues to top the ranking of the most popular politicians ahead of PM Šarec and EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.

NSi leader Matej Tonin advanced to fourth while SD leader and parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan slipped a point to sixth. SAB leader Alenka Bratušek trails in 14th, Cerar in 15th and DeSUS leader Karl Erjavec in 20th.

Commenting on the increasing approval ratings for Šarec, the government and now also Šarec's list, Delo attributes them to low expectations for the minority government at the start of its term.

"Distribution of public funds which many feel in their pockets has made an impression. Higher are social benefits, minimum wages and per capita municipality income," Delo comments ion the front-page commentary.

"Almost 700,000 public employees have at least 4% more and many hope for more yet. White collars, who take the credit for the Cerar government ending its term early, are happy for the time being.

"However, the real challenges that will show what the government is made of are yet coming. The first ones will be the supplementary budget, healthcare, preparations for a pension reform and when we have to show how we are in fact prepared for the economy's cooling."

The poll was conducted by Mediana among 743 respondents between 3 and 10 January.

11 Dec 2018, 10:20 AM

STA, 10 December 2018 - The Democrats (SDS) remain in the lead in the latest Mediana poll, published in Monday's Delo. The biggest opposition party, which topped the rankings for the most part of the year, is followed by the coalition Social Democrats (SD), Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and the Left. The government received the best mark so far.

Two-fifths of the respondents assessed the work of the government as mediocre and almost 30% assessed it as positive or very positive.

In September, when the government was sworn in, its average mark was 2.16 on a scale from one to five but now its average mark is 3.01, which is more than the previous government of Miro Cerar reached in the last two years of its rule.

Related: Learn more about most of Slovenia’s political parties here

The most popular party by far is still the SDS, polling at 18.1%, slightly down from 18.3% in November. The ratings of the SD, LMŠ and the Left, which trail the SDS, improved compared to last month.

The SD polled at 10.5% (8.9% in November), the LMŠ at 8.5% (7%) and the Left at 6.7% (6.1%)

The non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS) jumped to fifth place on 5.5% support, while polling at 1.7% only a couple of months ago.

The coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) won a percentage point to poll at 4.9%. The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) follows with 4.2% support and the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) with 3.5%.

The opposition National Party (SNS) polled at 3.2% and the coalition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) at 2.2%.

While DeSUS's support remained level, the remaining three parties lost some ground compared to November.

President Borut Pahor remains the most popular politician, followed by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec but Pahor received a slightly lower grade this month compared to November and Šarec a slightly higher.

European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc and MEP Tanja Fajon follow in third and fourth place, respectively.

Pollster Ninamedia conducted the survey among 717 adults between 26 November and 6 December.

24 Aug 2018, 13:50 PM

STA, 24 August 2018 - After being expelled from the Modern Centre Party (SMC) in late June, Milan Brglez has quit the party's faction in parliament to join the deputy group of Social Democrats (SD).

You can find our series of articles on Slovenia's many political parties, and their confusing names, here.

27 Jun 2018, 14:46 PM

STA, 27 June 2018 - The executive committee of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) unanimously decided at Tuesday's session to expel Milan Brglez, a party vice-president, from the SMC. Brglez wrote on Facebook he had been expelled for being an upright politician, for occasionally being critical of the party and for opposing a coalition with the Democrats (SDS). 

19 May 2018, 09:31 AM

STA, 18 May 2018 - The non-parliamentary Pirate Party (Piratska stranka) will try its luck in the general election for the second time. Polls place the marijuana legalisation advocates well below the 4% threshold, but there are also signs of a positive trend in the wake of the first round of public debates. 

18 May 2018, 09:33 AM

STA, 16 May 2018 - The National Party (Slovenska Nacionalna Stranka, SNS), a Eurosceptic, nationalist, protectionist and populist party, is relying heavily on anti-migrant rhetoric in its hope to re-enter parliament after a seven-year hiatus. Its founder and leader Zmago Jelinčič Plemeniti prides himself on not mincing words. 

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