The Slovenia Times

Proponents of electoral changes hope to get 60th vote


"We're faced with the responsibility to solve on time the situation in which we've ended up," Tina Heferle of the ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) said on Tuesday.

She recalled the two-year deadline to change the electoral law in line with a Constitutional Court decision would run out in December.

The court ruled in November 2018 that electoral district borders had changed over the years to no longer guarantee the one person-one vote principle.

The amendments were put forward by the LMŠ, Social Democrats (SD), Modern Centre Party (SMC), Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), the opposition New Slovenia (NSi), National Party (SNS) and the Left as well as both minority MPs.

They entail abolishing electoral districts and introducing a relative preferential vote, similarly to how members of the European Parliament are elected.

This gives voters a greater say in who gets elected to the National Assembly, at the same time implementing the court's ruling, said Heferle.

A lists of candidates would be formed for the entire electoral unit, and the voter could give his vote to a specific candidate or simply vote for the list as a whole.

To get elected with the relative preference vote, a candidate would have to win at least 4.5% of all votes won by the list on which they appear.

The bill also says that neither sex should be represented by fewer than 40% of the candidates on the list, a rise of 5 percentage points from the existing legislation. The candidates must be put on the list on the basis of a zipper system.

The bill moreover slightly changes the election of the two MPs representing the Italian and Hungarian minorities to simplify it.

The first election to be held under the new legislation would be called after 21 December 2020.

Heferle deems it important to pass the bill before a potential early election is called after Prime Minister Marjan Šarec resigned on 27 January.

She thus hopes that once the bill is being discussed in parliament, some of the remaining 31 MPs would muster the "reason and courage, and will be constructive to the benefit of the state" to pass the bill.

Igor Zorčič of the SMC finds it important the bill has been filed even if it eventually fails. His party will back it even if a new coalition is formed in the meantime.

Blaž Pavlin of the NSi said his party had first advocated the introduction of absolute preference vote, but settled for a relative one when the former failed to garner enough support.

He finds it important that by passing the bill the decision who gets elected would be in the hands of voters rather than party leaderships.

Maša Kociper of the SAB would like to see it passed before a potential early election or else "a considerably different parliament cannot be expected in the next term".

All five deputy groups believe the bill's second reading could be held in March, which would however require some extraordinary sessions.

Parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan of the SD believes its passage depends on the political will of the proponents.

And since one vote is still missing to secure a two-thirds majority, all eyes are now on the deputy group of the coalition Pensioners' party (DeSUS), he said at an unrelated event.

Even if the new legislation is passed in a month's time, Slovenia's existing legislation is legitimate and in line with the Constitution.

"This should not be the reason for anyone to want to postpone dates [for elections]. It's good that we pass new legislation and then let's apply it to the next election," said Židan.


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