SocDems tell voters they are safe and reliable bet

Ljubljana – The Social Democrats (SD) endorsed their manifesto for the 24 April election on Saturday as their leader Tanja Fajon offered the opposition party as a safe and reliable choice between the dangers of the incumbent government on the one hand and the unpredictability of new experiments on the other.

Fajon said voters had an obvious choice if they wanted a Slovenia that is “tailored to people, free, solidarity-based, innovative and green”, arguing that their platform was feasible and based on “financial calculations, expertise and cooperation with civil society”.

Touching on the war in Ukraine, Fajon said Slovenia would get to feel the consequences no doubt. “Through refugees, whom we will help, disruption in supplies, rising commodity prices and a changed security and political picture of Europe and the world.”

She described the conflict as the “latest red alert”, proof of what happens when democracy, the rule of law and human rights are deliberately undermined.

“The rise of autocratic leadership, which we can witness in Hungary and Poland and which Prime Minister Janez Janša and his government are emulating, the intimidating communication, encroachment on media freedom, the production of fake news, the return to the past and to the patterns of a conservative society, can lead only to dividing the nation and to hatred,” she said.

The 240-page programme, which they say covers two government terms for a development decade, was passed after the draft had been in public consultation since October.

Fajon described the document, entitled Differently, as a programme for dignity, prosperity and respect for every person and a programme for a strong and cohesive community.

The party is planning ten major changes to improve people’s lives, the quality of public services, business, governance and democracy, with a quality public healthcare and increasing the value added of the economy for higher pay being described as top priorities.

As key points Fajon mentioned the maximum 30-day wait for an examination by a specialty doctor, access to general practitioners and boosting public health care.

They also promise EUR 700 million in extra incentives to boost productivity, innovation, greening and internationalisation of businesses, and to spend 1.5% of GDP for R&D, subsidies for young researchers in business and better transfer of innovation to economy.

The party’s pledges include phasing in a 32-hour work week, a minimum wage of EUR 800 net (up from EUR 750) and a single employment agreement in order to scrap precarious work.

The also promise free kindergarten for all children, free school meals and school accessories and quality education accessible to all, as well as an annual voucher of EUR 500 for education and training of the employed.

To pensioners, the party promises a minimum pension of EUR 700 (the guaranteed pension is currently at EUR 654) and an allowance for all who get pensions below poverty threshold. For sustainable financing of pensions the party proposes setting up a demographic fund.

They are also promising 10,000 new rental flats. They plan to curb work done by doctors in public and private sectors at the same time, and tackle corruption in healthcare by setting reference prices for supplies.

Other proposals include incentives for solar plants, a cap on electricity prices, moving heavy cargo transport from roads to railways, building a fast passenger railway between Koper, Ljubljana and Maribor and making public transport throughout the country better and gradually free.

The party is also pledging to protect media freedom and independence and open up opportunities for participation, its commitment to the rule of law, to boost Slovenian diplomacy and return the country to the core of Europe.