The Slovenia Times

Dozen parties running in EU election

A banner in Brussels urging voters to cast their vote in EU elections across the bloc. Photo: Thierry Monasse/STA

As Slovenians head to the polls to elect nine members for the European Parliament (MEPs) on 9 June they will be able to choose among 98 candidates on 11 slates, representing a dozen parties or groups.

All of the country's current eight MEPs are running for re-election although one of them has switched allegiance, being unhappy with his position on the slate.

Each of the five parliamentary parties has its own list of candidates, along with seven non-parliamentary parties or groups, two of which are running on a joint ticket.

The eleven lists have been endorsed by the National Electoral Commission after the deadline for submission passed on 10 May.

To be able to run, parties need to submit verified signatures from at least four MPs or at least 1,000 voters. One of prospective contenders, the Pirate Party, failed to muster enough so its slate was rejected.

Campaigning has been under way officially since 9 May and will be allowed to continue until the election blackout sets in at midnight on 8 June when all political propaganda designed to convince voters to back any party or candidate is banned until the polls close at 7pm on election day.

Apart from Slovenians, citizens of other EU countries temporarily or permanently residing in Slovenia can cast their vote in the EU election, but they need to register, by 24 May at the latest.

This time the EU election will coincide with the triple referendum where voters will be consulted whether they want legislation on assisted dying, cannabis use and the introduction of preferential vote in general elections. A poll has suggested the referendums will drive up the turnout in the EU election.

Polls favour SDS

The polls released most recently, one by the commercial broadcaster POP TV in late April, and one by the newspaper Delo in early March, suggest the right-wing opposition Democrats (SDS) will win four of the country's nine seats in the European Parliament, two more than they have now, when Slovenia has eight seats.

The largest ruling coalition party, Freedom Movement, is projected to win two seats, with the POP TV poll suggesting the remaining three would go one each to the opposition party New Slovenia (NSi), the non-parliamentary party Vesna and the Social Democrats (SD). However, some more contenders have emerged since.

The SDS's slate is topped by MEPs Romana Tomc and Milan Zver, followed by Aleš Hojs, the SDS vice president and former interior minister, and MP Franc Breznik.

Like the NSi, the SDS is affiliated with the European People's Party (EPP), but does not support its lead candidate, the incumbent president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

The party's election platform focuses on protecting the European way of life, which they say immigrants should accept, as well as on increasing the birth rate, efforts to tackle illegal migration, EU market's competitiveness, democracy values and EU enlargement.

Freedom Movement's erstwhile candidates switch sides

The Freedom Movement, which is affiliated with the liberal Renew Europe group, has not presented a manifesto as such, but says it bets on young people who believe in a united and solidarity-based Europe.

This will be the party's first EU election since being founded just before the 2022 general election as well as the first real test of its public support. The party has two MEPs in the current EU parliament who were elected in 2019 as members of the party of Defence Minister Marjan Šarec, which has since merged with the Freedom Movement.

One of the two MEPs, Irena Joveva, is now topping the Freedom Movement's slate, while Klemen Grošelj has switched his allegiance to the Greens, a non-parliamentary party headed by a former SDS member, Andrej Čuš. This was after the Freedom Movement wanted to put him as No. 8 on its slate, a position he says is unelectable.

Grošelj, who will now top the Green's slate, is not the only disgruntled figure affiliated with the ruling party who decided to join the "liberal, social and green" ticket of the non-parliamentary party.

Aleksander Merlo, a doctor heading the Postojna maternity hospital, who was initially tipped to head the Freedom Movement's slate but then ended up not being on it at all, is one of them, and another is Mojca Šetinc Pašek, an MP expelled from the Freedom Movement in 2023 for not toeing the party line.

More current MEPs on the ballot

The Social Democrats (SD) are running with their two current MEPs; Matjaž Nemec is topping the slate and Milan Brglez tails it. Another ruling coalition party, the Left will try to win their first seat in the European Parliament, fielding MP Nataša Sukič as the top candidate and Labour Minister Luka Mesec as a supporting candidate at the tail end of the slate.

The opposition NSi decided to put its leader Matej Tonin on top and its current MEP Ljudmila Novak at the bottom of the slate as No. 9. Novak, who is serving out her second term as MEP, is hoping to get re-elected with preferential votes, opting to tail the list after the NSi leader "couldn't grant my first wish", which she indicated was that she head the slate.

Franc Bogovič, the MEP for the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS), is running for his third term but this time around it may prove tough because five years ago he made it in on a joint ticket with the SDS and the term before that as the SLS paired with the NSi. The SLS's slate is topped by Peter Gregorčič, the former chair of the RTV Slovenija programme council.

Rest of the field

Apart from the SLS and the Greens, six more lists of candidates have been filed by non-parliamentary parties, including Vesna, a green party, whose slate is topped by Kočevje Mayor Vladimir Prebilič. Vesna is also the only party to have only eight candidates instead of nine after one of its candidates, author, journalist professor and palliative care campaigner Manca Košir, died in early May, aged 76.

The Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), which was part of several governments before being squeezed out of parliament in the 2022 general election, has fielded a joint ticked with another small party called Good State. Their lead candidate is Uroš Lipušček, a former New York correspondent for the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija.

Also standing in the election are Resnica (Truth), the party that evolved from an anti-vaxxer movement during the Covid pandemic and recently faced accusations of being pro-Russian, and None of This (NOT), a group led by actress and former Left MP Violeta Tomič, whose campaign is based on satire.

Although there seem to be quite many contenders in the running, the number is in fact smaller than in the previous EU election, when Slovenian voters had 14 lists with a total of 103 candidates to choose from.


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