The Slovenia Times

MPs propose scrapping electoral districts


The amendments were proposed by 59 MPs of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), Modern Centre Party (SMC), Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), New Slovenia (NSi), National Party (SNS) and the Left as well as the two minority MPs, the LMŠ told the STA.

In order to be passed, the motion needs the support of at least 60 MPs in the 90-member legislature.

The initiator of the changes is the head of the LMŠ deputy group, Brane Golubović.

The motion will be presented to the public at a press conference, expectedly at the beginning of next week.

Prime Minister Marjan Šarec commented on the motion on the sidelines of a reception for the diplomatic corps today, saying it had been on the table for a while. "Had we hurried up a bit in the past year, perhaps we could have already passed it."

Abolishing the electoral districts and introducing a relative preferential vote is the "only option that is at least a bit fair", Šarec said.

But the Democrats (SDS) beg to differ as does the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), which has so far been pushing for a new demarcation of border lines of districts. The newly elected leadership is yet to decide on future steps, DeSUS told the STA today.

"Changing the border lines of districts may meet the demands of the Constitutional Court but it does not bring the basic thing we want for the voters and that is for them to be able to circle the name of a candidate and not just a party, and thus say who they want to see in parliament," Šarec said.

He would not speculate on whether the motion will receive sufficient support in parliament or not.

The Constitutional Court decided in December 2018 that electoral district borders had changed through the years to a degree that no longer guaranteed the one person-one vote principle. It gave parliament two years to improve the current system.

President Borut Pahor subsequently initiated a debate on the electoral reform last spring.

The Public Administration Ministry has since tabled two potential solutions: the introduction of preferential votes alongside the abolishment of electoral districts, or a new demarcation of border lines of districts, of which there are currently 88.

The preferential vote proposal entails abolishing the districts and introducing the relative preferential vote, where voters can either vote for a preferred candidate or just for their list - the same formula as the one currently used in EU elections.

Public Administration Minister Rudi Medved said in a press release today that scrapping electoral districts, which were not at all comparable by the number of voters, and introducing a preferential vote would give voters an extremely powerful tool to have a decisive say on who would be elected to the National Assembly.

If the changes filed in regular parliamentary procedure today fail to garner enough support in parliament, it is expected that MPs will try to reach a consensus on changing the border lines of districts.

After the resignation of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec earlier this week, a debate opened on whether a potential early election would be constitutional given that no changes to the election legislation have been made yet.

But constitutional law expert, Ciril Ribičič, rejected this, saying nobody could contest the election result, as the deadline for the implementation of the changes had not expired yet. Pahor repeated this today as he addressed the diplomatic corps in Brdo pri Kranju.


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