Slovenia PM loses party leadership challenge; new election imminent

By JD Mussel

Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek was defeated as party leader in a vote a week ago at a party conference of Positive Slovenia (PS).

The ballot was won by the party’s founder, Ljubljana mayor Zoran Jankovic by 338 votes to 422 (which raises the question, who could vote?). Jankovic formed the party in the lead-up to the last election in 2011, winning a plurality with 28 seats out of 90 in the National Assembly, but was thereafter unsuccessful in forming a government. Instead, a government was formed by Slovenian Democratic Party’s Janez Janša.

Janša’s government collapsed in early 2013 as a result of a corruption scandal (which ultimately resulted in Janša himself being sentenced to two years in prison). At that point, Jankovic stepped down from the party leadership to allow his successor Bratusek to form the new government.

Before the convention’s vote, Bratusek told the party she would resign if she was not re-elected. Jankovic said he said he hoped she would stay as PM nonetheless, but PS’s coalition partners have made it clear they would not govern together with the party if it is led by Jankovic, and would prefer holding new elections.

Bratusek will present her resignation to President Pahor on Monday. “The outgoing prime minister said on Saturday that snap elections could be held as soon as June 22, provided that none of the major parties presented a different prime ministerial candidate,” Deutsche Welle reported on 3 May.

Slovenia has a premier-presidential system, but one with quite weak presidential powers over either government-formation or assembly dissolution. When the premier resigns, the National Assembly has 30 days to elect a new PM. If the attempt is unsuccessful, the assembly is dissolved.

[Note: while the post was drafted by JD, MSS wrote the last two paragraphs after letting the post sit for a week as a draft. Apologies to JD for that; but at least it is up to date now!]

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