The Electoral Results in Slovenia

Levica won 6,34% of the vote, which was the fifth best result (out of 14 candidate lists), yet it was not enough for an MEP.

On Sunday, 26th of May, Slovenia voted for its MEPs for the fourth time since they became the first former Yugoslav Republic to join the EU on 1 May 2004. This is the second time that a contestant in the elections is a party that is member of the Party of the European Left. This time, fthe rontrunner of the Levica party (The Left; in 2014 ran as an electoral alliance under the name Združena Levica, The United Left), candidate Violeta Tomić, was also the spitzenkandidatin of the EL at the EU level.

The turnout was the highest in the history of the Slovenian EP election with 482.761 voters, which is similar to the former 2009 and 2004 elections. Nevertheless, although the turnout was highest ever, it still remains low at 28,32%. The results also did not fall far from what was expected:

  • the coalition of EPP affiliates Slovenska demokratska stranka (SDS – Slovenian Democratic Party), led by Janez Janša – one of closest foreign allies of Viktor Orban – and Slovenska ljudska stranka (SLS – Slovenian People’s Party) won the highest share of votes (26,43%), getting 3 out of the eight Slovenian MEP seats.
  • Levica won 6,34% which was fifth best result (out of 14 candidacies) but not enough for an MEP.
  • Among other results, SD won 18,64% and LMŠ won 15,58%, which results in two MEPs each. It was clear before the elections that a contest would occur between senior governing party Lista Marjana Šarca (Marjan Šarec List – LMŠ; ALDE affiliate) and junior government partner Socialni demokrati (SD – Social Democrats; PES affiliate), on whether voters would approve LMŠ’s seniority or reward SD’s long-standing MEP Tanja Fajon. 
  • The last of the eight Slovenian MEP seats was won by the Christian Democrats (NSi; still another EPP affiliate), with 11,07% of the popular vote.

Comparing with 2014

In the 2014 election, EPP members had won five out of eight Slovenian MEP seats. Three were won by Janša’s SDS with support of 24.78% or 99.643 voters, while the other two were won by an electoral alliance of Nova Slovenija (Nsi – New Slovenia) and SLS with support of 16.6% or 66.760 voters.

The remaining three mandates had gone to :

  • Igor Šoltes (now a DeSUS candidate), a Green candidate with support of 10.33% of ballots;
  • a DeSUS (ALDE) candidate who won 8.12%
  • and finally to SD (8.08%).

The 2019 campaign

Slovenia came to these elections few weeks short of a year since the parliamentary elections after which a coalition government of liberals (Lista Marjana Šarca, Stranka Mira Cerara, Stranka Alenke Bratušek) social democrats (Socialni demokrati) and pensioners (DeSUS) with the programme support of Levica was assembled under the premiership of Marjan Šarec. Those elections led to an unprecedented diversity in the Slovenian Parliament (Državni zbor), bringing 9 parties into a 90-member chamber. A coalition government formed out of five parties with the support of the sixth one was also needed to remove Janša’s SDS from government.

The election campaign, which effectively lasted for a month, was mostly devoid of serious political content and disconnected from discussing the issues relevant for the present and the possible futures of the European Union. With regard to that, Levica fulfilled what was expected of the party whose frontrunner was the spitzenkandidatin of the European Left. Their manifesto, whose title translates to English as For the Europe of its People, not of Capital (Za Evropo ljudi, ne kapitala) is another – after the ones for parliamentary and municipal elections in Slovenia – well-thought set of measures for the socialist transformation. Tackling issues of democratic deficit, uneven development, climate crisis and unemployment, Levica has yet again demonstrated how it is possible to offer practical solutions to the most important problems faced by Europeans whether living in the central or peripheral countries.

Finally, although 6,34% is not a result to be happy about, the fact is that Levica’s campaign influenced the discourse of these elections. While the right parties were all about inciting panic about migrants and inevitable loss of European identity, liberals and social democrats borrowed from Levica’s achievements and programmatic goals to fill their own political void. That shows that democratic socialists in Slovenia have established themselves as an important actor in the parliamentary arena, which now has a task of strengthening the organisation and broadening the pool of voters so that it could contest for more prominent roles in future.