Janez Janša gets another term as SDS head

Ljubljana – Janez Janša won another term at the helm of the Democratic Party (SDS) at a party congress in Slovenske Konjice on Saturday. He was endorsed by 650 of the 656 delegates as the only candidate for party head.

In his address after the vote, Janša thanked everyone who had organised the congress in challenging conditions. He pointed to the programme resolution adopted at the congress, which says that the party is already looking 30 years into the future.

While noting that his generation still had a lot to offer, he said a lot was expected from the party’s youth wing in the coming years.

He said their time in the SDS, Slovenia and Europe was coming. “We know you are capable of accepting this challenge and that you will be up to the task.”

He used the opportunity to point to 11 July and the referendum on the water act, saying that a yes vote would be a vote to protect drinking water. Those who will vote against will put drinking water in jeopardy, he said.

He said that those campaigning against the act were “more or less known names with known backgrounds”, who had already bought plots on river banks, by the lakes and on the coast and were bothered by the act.

“Since people do not read acts it is our task to spread this truth among our team and convince them to vote in favour. We are the ones who are building, so we vote in favour,” he stressed.

Janša said a challenging election year was ahead, so after a few months the team appointed today to party bodies would have to give their best.

He said that since many candidates were needed for elections, everyone would be given their chance.

SDS deputy group head Danijel Krivec said the committee’s support to Janša had been expected. “There has always been some votes against and it was so this year as well, but the support was plebiscitary. We are happy with this result, all resolutions adopted and today’s debate,” he said after the congress.

The delegates at the 12th congress of the SDS adopted five programme resolutions addressing the problems of the youth and the elderly, and recognising the need for efforts for equal opportunities for both genders.

They also discussed a resolution entitled For Defence of the Constitutional Foundations of the Slovenian State, which warns of the danger of extremists and the Left. The document raised some dust in the past weeks, especially due to an assessment that any more tensions could lead to a civil war.

“We wished to warn that free functioning of anti-establishment movements, parties could create risks or lead to major political conflicts or even a civil war. We do not want that, that was just a warning,” said SDS MEP Milan Zver.

He said some media had abused these statements in the past weeks, so some party committees had proposed that the controversial sections be scrapped but the delegates rejected this overwhelmingly.

The 62-year-old Janša, who is serving his third terms as prime minister, has been firmly at the helm of the SDS since 1993. Throughout this time, the party has always been at the top of party rankings.

He is the third SDS president of the party, which was initially called the Social-democratic Alliance of Slovenia and was renamed twice.

Its first president was France Tomšič, who led it between March 1989 and November 1989. He was succeeded by Jože Pučnik in 1989 – 1993.

Janša was elected party head at the congresses in 1993, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2021, and never had a rival except in 1993.