Levica won 6,34% which was fifth best result (out of 14 candidacies) but 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 1st of May 2004. At the same time, this is the second time that a contestant in the elections was a party which is a member of the Party of the European Left. This time, frontrunner of the Levica’s (The Left; in 2014 ran as an electoral alliance under the name Združena Levica, The United Left) candidacy Violeta Tomić was also the spitzenkandidatin of the EL on the EU level.
Number of voters who went out to the polls is the highest in the history of Slovenian EP elections with 482.761, which is similar to elections in 2009 and 2004. Nevertheless, although the turnout was highest ever, it is still standing at weak 28,32%. Results also did not fall far from the expected as a 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%), or 3 out of eight Slovenian MEPs. Levica won 6,34% which was fifth best result (out of 14 candidacies) but not enough for an MEP. Among other results before the elections it was clear that a contest will 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 will affirm LMŠ’s seniority or reward SD’s long standing MEP Tanja Fajon. SD won 18,64% and LMŠ won 15,58%, which translates to two MEPs each. The last of eight Slovenian MEPs was won by Christian Democrats (NSi; EPP affiliate), who won 11,07% of the popular vote.
In the 2014 elections EPP members won five out of eight Slovenian MEPs. Three were won by Janša’s SDS with support of 24.78% or 99.643 voters, while 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. Remaining three mandates went to Igor Šoltes, now a DeSUS candidate then a Green candidate with support of 10.33%, then to DeSUS (ALDE) who won 8.12% and, final one, to SD who won 8.08% of the vote.
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 nine parties into a 90 members chamber. A coalition government formed out of five parties with the support of the sixth one was also needed to exclude from government Janša’s SDS.
Election campaign, which effectively lasted for a month, was mostly devoid of serious political content and disconnected from discussing the issues pertinent to the present and possible futures of the European Union. With regard to that, Levica fulfilled what was expected of the party whose member 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 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 that Europeans face 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.