New attempt being made to get opposition to form pre-election alliance

Ljubljana – A group of academics affiliated with the anti-government protest movement has mounted a new attempt to bring centre-left opposition parties together to form a pre-election coalition, drawing on the manifesto of the ill-fated Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL).

According to a report by the web portal N1, academics Rado Bohinc, Stane Pejovnik, Ivan Svetlik and Vito Turk of the Civil Society Alliance, a group formed in October last year as cycling protests were suspended, have compiled a draft agreement on cooperation of four centre-left opposition parties in a coalition for next-year’s general election.

The draft, compiled after two rounds of talks with representatives of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), Left and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) includes points from the manifesto presented late last year by KUL in an initiative led by economist Jože P. Damijan that sought but failed to replace Prime Minister Janez Janša through a vote of no confidence.

The N1 portal writes that the authors believe the agreement on a pre-election coalition would help enhance voter trust and the voter base of the centre-left bloc, prevent dispersion of votes and make it easier and more predictable to form a government.

Asked for comment by the STA, the four opposition parties said they supported cooperation in principle. The Left and the SD spoke of the need to form a strong alternative ahead of the election, while the LMŠ and SAB said the opposition were cooperating already.

The LMŠ deputy group is yet to discuss the draft agreement on a pre-election coalition, while telling the STA that they were working together will like-minded parties all the time and it was “only natural” to continue with such cooperation in the future.

Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, said the party favoured a pre-election coalition in principle, for one thing because a commitment to form a new government between left and centrist parties would show who supported which government.

He anticipates “great confusion” in the election, which he says the current government is trying to create with “several new parties touting themselves as centrist or neutral that are in fact more or less satellites of the [ruling] SDS” party.

The SD, whose leader Tanja Fajon recently proposed the four opposition parties forge a closer partnership, is strongly in favour of building a “strong, competent and convincing alternative” to PM Janez Janša.

Having discussed the proposal by the group of academics, the SAB executive committee found the opposition had been working together well in the past year and supported further cooperation, but the party will decide on joining potential pre-election coalitions once the election has been called.