SD Returning to the Left
The newly elected president of the opposition Social Democrats (SD), Igor Lukšič, stated that his party will aim to be the top party in the country, will change its position on several topical issues and will adopt a tougher stance toward the government. Lukšič said that the party indicated its desire for change by electing a new president after 15 years under the leadership of Borut Pahor, whom Lukšič beat by 10 votes (190 to 180) in a leadership vote at the party’s congress.
The new SD president said that the party would change its position regarding the introduction of the golden fiscal rule into the Constitution, the dismantling of the upper chamber of parliament and the referendum rules. Pahor supported the golden fiscal rule and changes to the referendum rules, angering many SocDem members.
Lukšič believes that the quorum for referendums should be “considerably higher” than the proposed 35%, as “legitimacy is important” for democratic decisions. “The referendum legislation should be changed so that the will of the majority can be clearly expressed”. He also said that SD would become much more thorough when reviewing the government’s staffing decisions and would respond to “any non-expert changes”. The party will also carefully review the government’s package of measures for encouraging growth. Touching on the opposition partner, Positive Slovenia (PS), Lukšič stressed that every party was a competitor but also a potential partner in issues where there is common interest. He rejected the possibility of a merger between the two parties.
Coalition parties responded to Lukšič’s win by expressing worry over his announcement that SD will take a tougher stance toward the government. The senior coalition democrats, SDS, forecast for the SD, once the biggest party in Slovenia, a similar fate to that of the LibDems (LDS) which failed to make it into parliament in the last general election. “LDS 2002 & Tone Rop = SD 2012 & Igor Lukšič. Good luck!” the senior coalition party tweeted. The Citizens’ List (DL) meanwhile said that Slovenia badly needs cooperation and not “an a priori aggravation” of relations. Državljanska Lista Deputy Group Head, Rihard Braniselj, says he does not understand why SD would not stick with the hard won agreement on changes to the referendum legislation. The People’s Party (SLS) moreover said that all parties were responsible for getting Slovenia out of the crisis, whilst SLS believes that changing what has already been agreed is not the most responsible action. Head of the Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS), Karl Erjavec, meanwhile congratulated Lukšič, stressing that he will find himself with big shoes to fill following the defeat by Pahor. The smallest coalition party, New Slovenia (NSi), noted that each party elects its own leadership and expressed hope that Lukšič would maintain a constructive stance.
Former SD President and PM Pahor announces he will run for President of the Republic
Borut Pahor, not so suprisingly, announced that he will run for President of the Republic in the autumn elections, although his party has not yet decided if they will support him. Lukšič explained that the party would decide, in the next month, whether to support Pahor in “his desire to become the President of Slovenia”, pointing out that some “very passionate statements against this” were voiced at the party congress.
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