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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

A great victory for SDS; the ruling coalition suffered a defeat

By: Dr Metod Berlec

The European elections are behind us, which have positively refreshed both the Slovenian and European political scenes. With 99.97% of the votes counted and a 41.36% voter turnout, the convincing winner of the European elections in Slovenia is the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) led by Janez Janša.

They received 30.65% of the votes, securing four parliamentary seats (Romana Tomc, Milan Zver, Branko Grims, and Zala Tomašič). The second place was expectedly taken by the Gibanje Svoboda party led by Robert Golob, which received 22.15% of the votes and two parliamentary seats (Irena Joveva and Marjan Šarec). The third place went to Vesna – Green Party with 10.52% of the votes and one parliamentary seat (Vladimir Prebilič). The fourth place was taken by the Social Democrats (SD) with 7.73% of the votes and one parliamentary seat (Matjaž Nemec). New Slovenia – Christian Democrats narrowly secured one parliamentary seat (Matej Tonin) with 7.66% of the votes. The Slovenian People’s Party, with list leader Peter Gregorčič, was close to securing a parliamentary seat with 7.23% of the votes. Other parties and lists lagged significantly. Levica received 4.75% of the votes, the Citizens’ Movement Resni.ca received 3.97%, and the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia – DeSUS and the Good Country received 2.21% of the votes. The Greens of Slovenia and the None of the Above list ended at the bottom with 1.59% and 1.53% of the votes, respectively.

The SDS can be the most satisfied, having secured 26.25% support in the 2019 European elections (together with SLS). This time, running independently, they received more than four percentage points higher support. They advanced from two to four European Parliament seats, which is undoubtedly a significant success. Their principled opposition stance paid off. They had a good election campaign, top-tier candidates on the list, and the internal competition within the SDS for preferential votes bore fruit, contributing to a better overall result for the list. The Gibanje Svoboda addressed ideological topics (euthanasia, cannabis use, recognition of Palestine, abortion) that resonate with left-leaning voters, and benefited from strong media support in promoting Golob’s new ambitious promises, at least partially saving them from a greater defeat. However, compared to the national elections, where they surprisingly received 34.45% support (SDS 23.48% support), they have now significantly fallen. The Vesna party can be pleased, having capitalised on the political capital gained by the current mayor of Kočevje, Prebilič, in the recent presidential elections. It is clear, however, that this is a party with a “watermelon effect” – green on the outside but ideologically red on the inside. The Social Democrats barely retained one parliamentary mandate but lost another. From 18.66% support in 2019, they fell to 7.72%. Milan Brglez, who lost the party’s presidential race to Matjaž Han, experienced another setback in the European elections. For the second time, he failed to secure a seat in the European Parliament with the help of preferential votes. The party, similar to the Levica, is too subservient to the dictates of the Gibanje Svoboda. New Slovenia significantly declined compared to the previous European elections. They fell from 11.12% support to 7.66%, partly due to their “deal-making” cooperation with the ruling coalition and playing the role of “court opposition”.


The ruling parties were penalised for their arrogant, anti-Slovenian, and harmful governance. For their chaotic and incompetent administration. For abusing all three branches of government. Unfortunately, it was not enough! The ruling coalition (GS, SD, and the Levica) collectively gathered 34.63% support in the European elections. Including Vesna, they reached 45.15%. On the other hand, opposition parties (SDS, NSi, and SLS) collectively garnered 45.54% support. There are other smaller parties that lean more to the left, but the result of the centre-right parties compared to the last national elections is very encouraging. However, the result of the four contentious referendum questions, which all received voter support, is much less encouraging. This means that the next national elections will be very tight, and every vote will matter. This was also evident at the European level, where there was a shift to the right, but it remains to be seen whether this will be sufficient. There is a possibility that the coalition that has already been leading the European Union (EPP, Socialists, and Liberals) will continue to do so. Nevertheless, it would be better for the EU to have a more centre-right coalition and a new leader at the helm of the European Commission.


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