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What Is the Story of the Political Parties in Slovenia?

Politics play a significant role in the life of the average citizen. Somebody does not like it. On the other hand, there are people who adore and support their politics. Usually, citizens from democratic and highly developed countries like their government more. In general, the more we have the feeling of being in control, the more we like government. This is the principle of democracy, which means the power of demos, that in its turn, is the definition of people.

Now, Slovenia is a parliamentary democracy. However, thirty years ago it was a part of the other country. Since then, it gained independence, entered the European Union and the Schengen Area, adopted the Euro as a currency, and became a place of democracy and freedom blooming. 

Slovenia experienced a lot of change in its political life. At first, it had a king when it was a part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. After that, it became a socialistic republic in communistic Yugoslavia since 1945. Only after the breakup of the last one, Slovenia declared independence in 1991 and became a parliamentary democracy. Furthermore, this all happened in about 100 years, which means that there some Slovenes who experienced all three regimes. Nowadays, the Republic of Slovenia is the richest country among other European Slavic nations as well as with the highest level of democracy. How has it happened? What was the story of change the political system? Let’s find out here!

The 1980s-1990s

Slovenia was the Socialist Republic of Slovenian in the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, yet in the 1980s. At that time, Yugoslavia wasn’t ruled by Tito already. After Tito’s death on 4 May 1980, ethnic tensions became a big deal in the country. Moreover, the new Constitution of 1974 gave the possibility of this. The first one that started protests was Kosovo (that was a part of Serbia) and its riot of the Albanian majority. Therefore, the first brick was put to build the walls of independence between Yugoslav nations.  

Slovenia of the 1980s became even more democratic. In 1987, the group of Slovenian intellectuals started to oppose communistic parties and introduced the idea of a pluralistic democratic system in an independent Slovenian state. This movement gathered a lot of followers and contributed to the creation of the political coalition DEMOS in November 1989.

In 1989, the Slovene Farmers’ Alliance (SKZ) was established on the basis of the Slovene Association of Cooperatives. This was the party of workers in Slovenia. People working in culture and arts created their own Slovene Democratic Alliance (SDZ). The Christian social movement started active publishing and founded as well a party called the Slovene Christian Democrats. Also, in 1989, the Greens of Slovenia founded their own movement with the same name. Therefore, they created the core of further democratic opposition to the Communistic party. 

Moreover, the former socio-political organizations became political parties as well because they were allowed to become parties. Thus, The League of Communists of Slovenia (ZKS) became the Party of Democratic Renewal (later the Social Democratic Party). Taking their example, the League of Socialist Youth of Slovenia became the Liberal Party, and the Socialist Alliance of the Working People became the Socialist Party. 

However, it was not still enough, because there were a lot of parties but not one great opposition that would be able to defeat the old and entrenched Communistic party. Therefore, the Slovenian Democratic Union, Social Democratic Party of Slovenia, Slovenian Christian Democrats, Liberal Party, the Greens of Slovenia, and the Slovenian Farmers’ Association united in DEMOS – Democratic Opposition of Slovenia as a pre-election coalition. After that, the Slovenian Craftsmen’s Party and the Grey Panthers joined them too. 

The Demos coalition won the general elections with 54% of the votes and became the political majority. This allowed the government to make the referendum asking people whether they want to be in separate Slovenia, and 88% voted for “yes”. The first country to recognize Slovenia was Croatia. After that, former Soviet states such as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine. Thereby, in 1992, it was recognized by the European Economic Community.

The 1990s-2000s

After gaining independence, Slovenia takes a direction into the European Union and NATO (Transatlantic Military Union). Those priorities were taken during the evolution of parties too. In 1992, after a successful campaign, DEMOS divided into parties again. The major one was the Liberal Democrats of Slovenia (LDS). It was the leading party and ruled Slovenia for almost 12 years. LDS was gathering enough votes to form governments in 1996 and 2000 as well. Another party in the ruling coalition was The Social Democratic (SD). The magnet for the electorate of the party was its president Borut Pahor, who was the Prime Minister of Slovenia from November 2008 to February 2012, and now he is the 4th President of Slovenia. 

In 2000, Pahor led his party in the coalition with the first one mentioned about the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia led by Janez Drnovšek, who was the Prime Minister for almost 10 years already. Thereby, the Slovenian national agenda shifted to a centrist approach. However, the right-wing consolidated power by way of two parties: Slovene People’s Party (SLS) and Slovene Christian Democrats (SKD). 

In 2002, Janez Drnovšek won the Presidential elections in November 2002 and chose Anton Rop as a successor in the position of the leader of LDS and the Prime Minister. On the other side, there was a change in the Slovenian political rotation because the Slovene Democratic Party (SDS) won the majority in 2004. Hence, New Slovenia (NSi), Slovene People’s Party (SLS), and Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS) became the coalition with it. The main attraction for SDS supporters was Janez Janša, the person with a strong personality and determination. He is the current Prime Minister as well as he accepted this post from 2004 to 2008 and from 2012 to 2013. His electorate was mainly workers, farmers, and others from towns and rural areas.

New Slovenia (NSi) was a right-oriented party with the strong support of the Catholic Church. The Slovene People’s Party (SLS) originates in the Farmers Union. Its supporters are mainly workers. The Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS) was the party for protecting pensioners of Slovenia. The Slovene National Party (SNS) was the most controversial one. They were strongly against equal rights for Roma people and homosexuals. 

Therefore, LDS and SD lost the elections to SDS and its coalition and became an opposition. Moreover, their ideological successors were Za Res (For Real) party, that became the player on the Slovenian political arena in 2006. 

The 2010s

After the elections in 2014, the steering wheel of the government was taken by the left-wing again. Miro Cerar, son of a former State Prosecutor General, created a party five weeks before the elections, which was called the Modern Centre Party (SMC). At that time, SDS, the experienced and very pro-European party, became the second. This was unexpected. Moreover, merely 51% of voters came to vote, which was the lowest record for Slovenia.

In the elections of 2018, the results happened to be the following:

Slovenian Democratic Party222,04224.9225+4
List of Marjan Šarec112,25012.6013New
Social Democrats88,5249.9310+4
Modern Centre Party86,8689.7510-26
The Left83,1089.339+3
New Slovenia – Christian Democrats63,7927.167+3
Party of Alenka Bratušek45,4925.115+1
Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia43,8894.935-5
Slovenian National Party37,1824.174+4

Therefore, SDS and SD gained the majority again, and SMC was shifted to fourth place. 

House of Cards

Now, the Slovenian political situation is quite stable. In the last 100 years, the country experienced a lot of changes. This lets the people create an ability to adjust, but no patience to tolerate it. Therefore, the situation forced the political system to change radically.

On the other side, the Slovenian government did its job well. It was not so radical in the times of the communistic regime as well as it became very liberal in the times of independence. Of course, we are talking about different governments with different people, but the fact is the fact. 

After gaining independence, Slovenia started to take active steps in the direction of the EU and NATO. Despite the fact that parties were switching from left-wing to right-wing and centrist, the course was important. Therefore, the country became a member of those organizations, adopted Euro, and became a part of the Schengen area. Now, Slovenian people have the possibility to travel and live around Europe, work there, and the Eurozone influenced only positively.

This happened because the Slovenian government was changeable. The point is, in fact, that where it happens a totalitarian regime of a dictator, there starts stagnation. The main point of a government is to be changed because democracy requires different people to be heard. Therefore, a government with one ideology does their best and gives way for a younger one with opposite thoughts. In this case, the Slovenian governments were quite democratic, and no one wanted to become a new Tito.

So, Slovenia experienced a lot of changes, but the most important was the change itself.

Thank you for reading our article. We do our best to provide you with first-hand information about Slovenia and its wonders. We know we are not infallible though. In case you encounter any mistakes in our articles or you have any suggestions, please contact us. Let us know how we could improve. It will help us to keep our information updated and deliver to readers the most valuable possible content.  We will gladly take your suggestions!

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