Židan resigns as SD president, Fajon appointed interim head
Handing over the party presidency to Fajon, Židan told the press that, in his eyes, the MEP was a "future Slovenian prime minister", while Fajon said her priorities would include enhancing cooperation on the centre-left.
The outgoing SD president noted that he had taken over the party after a "very bad result" in the EU elections, and that now the party was not wondering whether it would make it to parliament or whether social democracy had a place in Slovenia at all.
Židan said that the party had progressed in the last six years, significantly increasing the number of supporters, and that it was time to ask what steps it could make in order to grow into a leading party.
He said being replaced by Fajon was one of the options, and that the deputy group and the party's leadership were unanimous in supporting the proposal.
Fajon, who is convinced that the SD can do more, said she wanted to inspire trust as there was much distrust, apathy and dissatisfaction among people and to create policies together with citizens, including marginalised civil society groups.
She said she would soon invite opposition party presidents for a meeting, and assessed that the current, centre-right government was pulling Slovenia away from the core European countries, including by attacking the press and judiciary.
Židan is stepping down after exactly six years at the helm of the party. He replaced Igor Lukšič at the SD congress on 28 May 2014, after Lukšič resigned in the face of the party only securing one MEP - Fajon - in the elections to the European Parliament.
The 52-year-old began his political career as agriculture minister in the Borut Pahor government in 2010, going on to also serve as agriculture minister in the Alenka Bratušek and Miro Cerar governments. He served as parliamentary speaker under the Marjan Šarec government that was disbanded in March this year.
His climb in the SD was fast. After Lukšič succeeded Pahor as SD president in 2012, Židan became one of the party's four vice presidents. He became acting president in May 2014 and got a full term in January 2015.
The SocDems have been the third-ranked party in opinion polls for some time now, trailing the Democrats (SDS) and the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ). They have had to deal with competition from the Left and newly formed centrist parties, but support seems to have stabilised after the dive that followed their victory in the 2008 general election when they got 30.5% of the vote.
The party plummeted to 10.52% in 2011. It then got 5.98% in the July 2014 general election and 9.92% in the June 2018 election, forming a government in both cases. It was relegated to the opposition in March as a result of Šarec's resignation.
Fajon, 49, is a third-term MEP. She worked as a journalist at the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija before entering politics in 2009, including as its correspondent from Brussels.