The Slovenia Times

Positive Slovenia Surprise Winner of Election


Positive Slovenia won 28.5% of the vote or 28 seats in the 90-strong legislature, show the results after nearly all the ballots were counted, on a turnout of 64.6%.

Jankovic attributed his success to a "focus on the platform and the team" rather than scandals, arguing that his victory was "evidence that Slovenia will go in the right direction".

Jankovic said people had showed that they wanted "a new Slovenia that will be economically successful and social...with respect and cooperation."

Although securing 26.2% of the vote and 26 seats, the Democrats (SDS) of Janez Jansa are the main losers, having ranked as the firm favourites in all public opinion polls ahead of the vote and facing the most unpopular outgoing government on record.

Jansa conceded defeat but expressed his view that the outcome will lead to a fragmented coalition that will not be up to the challenges ahead. "Slovenia can probably expect another early election," he said.

The Social Democrats (SD) of the outgoing PM Borut Pahor garnered 10.5% and 10 seats, which Pahor said was better than expected, while the Citizens' List of Gregor Virant secured 8.4% and eight seats.

Pahor, whose government was ousted on 20 September after a failed vote of confidence in parliament, said that the result confirmed that the people were aware that he had led the government during difficult times.

Virant, who like Jankovic entered the race less than two months ago, labelled the showing of the fledgling party a success.

Three more parties made it to parliament: the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) won 6.97% and six seats, the People's Party (SLS) 6.9% and six seats and New Slovenia (NSi) 4.8% and four seats.

The smaller parties will prove crucial in building a coalition, as natural allies alone have too few votes to build a strong government.

The left-leaning combination of Positive Slovenia and SD has 38 votes, while the right-leaning bloc, the so-called Spring parties, has 36.

This probably means that the centrist Virant and the SLS or DeSUS will play the role of kingmakers.

Jankovic said coalition talks would start tomorrow. "There are enough parties in parliament that want a positive and happy Slovenia and do not want scandals," he said, indicating that the SDS will probably not be among the potential coalition partners.

Pahor would not say whether his SocDems would enter a coalition with Jankovic's Positive Slovenia, but expressed readiness for talks.

Meanwhile, Virant said that his party was open for everybody who would accept its terms. "Any coalition is possible, but only under clear terms."

Crucially, Virant's party indicated it would participate in a Jankovic-led coalition only if Positive Slovenia did not get the ministries of justice and the interior.

Party vice-president Janez Sustersic said Positive Slovenia had maintained during the campaign that "corruption in the country is not a problem", which is why it must not control the two key departments.

DeSUS has been in almost governments since 1992 but it is considered a tricky partner with its stubborn insistence on protecting pensioners' rights, which is all the more problematic since curtailing spending will have to be the main task of the new government.

Indeed, DeSUS president Karl Erjavec said the party was willing to join the ruling coalition, but only if it is able to protect the interests of pensioners.

The SLS, which has been in centre-right as well as centre-left coalitions, has also suggested it was willing to enter into coalition talks with Jankovic.

Jankovic is already facing calls to put together a firm coalition and quickly embark on much needed reforms.

Head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) Samo Hribar Milic hopes the next prime minister will be able to form a sufficient majority to make quick and bold decisions.

Hribar Milic's main concern is that coalition bargaining will lead to concessions to small partners in the ruling coalition, which could hurt the reform process.

The unions, on the other hand, are warning the winner to take social partners seriously and fulfil his campaign promises.

"It is crucial that Jankovic said he would not interfere with public sector wages, which means they will not be reduced," said Branimir Strukelj, the head of the powerful confederation of public sector trade unions.

Political analysts Matej Makarovic and Igor Pribac also pointed out that Jankovic will have his work cut out attempting to secure a firm coalition while also pushing through reforms.

The elections were not problem-free as 100 ballots were stolen over night in Trzic, forcing the National Electoral Commission to close polls in the area for an hour in the afternoon and extending voting until 8 PM.

No challenges have been announced but Constitutional law expert Franc Cebulj said it could prove problematic as it could mean that not all voters had the same amount of time to cast their ballots.

However, he noted that a recount was possible only in the event the result was very close, which is not the case.

The maiden session of the new parliament will be on 24 December at the latest, whereupon President Danilo Tuerk can start consultations with the parties to nominate a prime minister-designate.


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