President formally calls general election for 24 April

Ljubljana – President Borut Pahor formally called the general election in Slovenia for 24 April on Wednesday, announcing that he would give the mandate to form a government to the person with sufficient support in the new parliament after the election.

After the signing of the presidential decree to call the election, parties and groups of voters can enter their bids for the election starting from 14 February. These need to be submitted by 24 March when official election campaign starts.

Candidates for MPs can fielded by political parties or groups of voters, but while the former needs the signatures of at least three MPs or 100 voters, a group of voters needs to collect at least 1,000 voter signatures in support of its ticket to run in a particular electoral unit. Voters will be able to provide their signatures from St Valentine’s Day.

April 24 is the first possible date for this year’s scheduled general election after the last one, a snap vote, was held on 3 June 2018. Pahor announced in early November, after consulting parliamentary factions, that he would opt for the earliest possible date.

He repeated today that he deemed the date the most suitable given the political situation. “It makes it possible to form a government even before parliamentary recess,” he said.

Pahor also argued that the date was suitable from the aspect of public health, noting that a state of epidemic is not formally in place in the country, that Covid measures are being eased and that many other European countries have held elections during the Covid-19 pandemic and Slovenia successfully held a referendum last year.

After the election, Pahor will, after consultations with the heads of new deputy factions, entrust the mandate to form a government to the PM candidate who will enjoy a outright majority of 46 votes or more in the new National Assembly.

He will ask deputy faction leaders to demonstrate that support with deputy signatures.

Pahor also called for a high level of cultured dialogue during the election campaign recommending that election debates should not be narrowed down to questions of who would work with whom or against whom.

“Political, ideological and other differences and the tone of debate in election debates in particular should divide us only as much as we can then recover [from those divisions] as a community,” he said.

This will be the ninth general election in the independent Slovenia after the first such vote was held in 1992. The first multi-party election post-WWII was held in 1990, the year before Slovenia declared its independence.

The last three elections – in 2011, 2014 and 2018 – were early polls, which means that this year’s will be the first scheduled election after 2008.