Social Democrats (Slovenia)

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Social Democrats
Socialni demokrati
Leader Igor Lukšič
Founded 29 May 1993
Merger of United List
Headquarters Ljubljana
Youth wing Mladi forum Socialnih demokratov (Youth Forum of Social Democrats)
Ideology Social democracy[1][2]
Political position Centre-left[3][4]
International affiliation Progressive Alliance,
Socialist International (observer)[5]
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours Red
National Assembly
10 / 90
European Parliament
2 / 8
Politics of Slovenia
Political parties

The Social Democrats (Slovene: Socialni demokrati, SD) is a centre-left political party in Slovenia, currently led by Igor Lukšič. From 1993 until 2005, the party was known as the United List of Social Democrats (Slovene: Združena lista socialnih demokratov, ZLSD). SD won 10.52% of the vote at the early 2011 Slovenian parliamentary election on 4 December 2011, thus gaining 10 seats in the National Assembly.[6]



The origins of the current party date from the end of 1989, when the League of Communists of Slovenia decided to renounce the absolute monopoly over political, social and economic life in the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, and agreed to introduce a system of political pluralism. On 23 January 1990, the Slovenian Communists left the League of Communists of Yugoslavia and on 04 February 1990 renamed themselves to Party of Democratic Renewal (Stranka demokratične prenove, SDP). Former prominent Communist politician Ciril Ribičič was elected as the party's new president. The party lost against the Democratic Opposition of Slovenia (DEMOS) coalition at the first democratic elections in Slovenia in April 1990, gaining 17.3% of the popular vote. They nevertheless became the single largest party in Slovenia.

Between 1990 and 1992, the party remained in opposition against the centre-right coalition government of Lojze Peterle. After the fall of Peterle's cabinet in 1992, the party entered the first coalition government of Janez Drnovšek, formed by the left wing of the dissolved DEMOS coalition (the Social Democratic Party of Slovenia, the Democratic Party of Slovenia and the Greens of Slovenia). The same year, the party was renamed to Social Democratic Renewal (Socialdemokratska prenova), maintaining the same acronym, SDP.

Constitution of the United List[edit]

Prior to the 1992 general election intensive discussions were held and agreements reached between left-oriented political parties and groups on an electoral coalition. Thus just prior the parliamentary election of 1992, an agreement was reached between the Social Democratic Renewal (SDP) and three smaller extra-parliamentary cenre-left and left-wing parties (the Social Democratic Union, the Workers' Party of Slovenia and the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia) to form an electoral coalition under the name United List. The newly formed coalition gained 13.6% of the popular vote, thus becoming the third political force in the country, after Liberal Democracy of Slovenia and the Slovene Christian Democrats. These three largest parties decided to form a government coalition, which soon became popularly known as the "grand coalition" (velika koalicija), under the leadership of Liberal Democrat Prime Minister Janez Drnovšek. Until March 1994, the Social Democratic Party of Slovenia also participated in this government coalition.

On 29 May 1993, a congress was held in Ljubljana at which the constitutive members of the United List decided to form a unified party. The new party was named United List of Social Democrats and Janez Kocijančič was elected as its president. The party remained in government until January 1996, when it left the ruling coalition in disagreement over the government's social welfare policies. Furthermore, several prominent members exited the party and re-established Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia. In the general elections of 1996, the United List of Social Democrats suffered a substantial loss support, gaining only around 9% of the popular vote.

The Pahor era[edit]

In the period between 1996 and 2000, the party remained in opposition. On the third National Congress of the United List of Social Democrats in 1997 a new party president, Borut Pahor, was elected. A gradual evolution towards more moderate positions started. In the election of 2000, the party rose to 12% of the vote and entered the centre-left coalition government led by Janez Drnovšek, while the party's president Borut Pahor was elected chairman of the Slovenian National Assembly. In the general elections of 2004, the party gained around 10.2% of the vote and went into opposition against the centre-right government dominated by the liberal-conservative Slovenian Democratic Party.

In the fifth party Congress held in 2005 in Ljubljana, the decision was taken to shorten the party name to Social Democrats. Borut Pahor was confirmed as the party president, strengthening his positions against internal opposition from the left wing of the party.[7] In the programmatic congress held in Nova Gorica in July 2006, the party clearly distanciated itself against its communist past, while its president publicly condemned the Communist dictatorship in Slovenia and Yugoslavia established after World War II.[8]

Going to the top[edit]

After the internal crisis in the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS) following the loss of election in 2004, which resulted in the split of the party, the Social Democrats emerged as the main centre-left opposition force against the centre-right government led by Janez Janša. In 2007, several prominent members of the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia, including former Prime Minister Anton Rop, left their party and joined the Social Democrats. Following these developments, the Social Democrats became the second largest parliamentary party in Slovenia, after the Slovenian Democratic Party.

In 2008, the Social Democrats signed a coalition agreement with the extra-parliamentary Christian Socialists of Slovenia, and decided to set up a common election list on the coming elections.

In September 2008, Social Democrats won the parliamentary election with 30.45%. The ruling Slovenian Democratic Party finished second with 29.26%. Social Democrats formed a new Slovenian government in coalition with Zares, DeSUS and LDS. They won 29 seats in the 90-member National Assembly, one of which was won by Andrej Magajna, the president of the Christian Socialists of Slovenia. In October 2010, Andrej Magajna left the deputy group of Social Democrats due to differences of opinion with the rest of the group. He especially criticised the party leader Borut Pahor and the Minister of Economic Development Mitja Gaspari, claiming that he had been threatened with "removal" for not having supported the new act on the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija.[9] After Magajna's break with the party, the SD parliamentary group was left with 28 MPs.

Parliamentary representation[edit]

Electoral results[edit]


Election year Candidate 1st round 2nd round
# of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall votes  % of overall vote
2002 Lev Kreft 25,715 2.25
2007 Supported Danilo Türk 241,349 24.47 677,333 68.03
2012 Borut Pahor 325,406 39.93 474,309 67.44

International affiliations[edit]

In September 1996, at the 20th Congress of the Socialist International in New York, United List became full member party of Socialist International as the only social-democratic party from Slovenia. The Social Democrats are also members of the Party of European Socialists (PES). Since 16 May 2003, the SD is a full member party of the PES. The SD party was present at the foundation of the Progressive Alliance on 22 May 2013.[10]

Party leadership[edit]


Vice presidents[edit]

Other prominent members[edit]


  1. ^ Hloušek, Vít; Kopeček, Lubomír (2010), Origin, Ideology and Transformation of Political Parties: East-Central and Western Europe Compared, Ashgate, p. 26 
  2. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram, "Slovenia", Parties and Elections in Europe, retrieved 17 March 2012 
  3. ^ Connor, Richard (5 December 2011), Center-left wins power in Croatia, Slovenian poll delivers surprise, DW 
  4. ^ "Slovenia", Freedom in the World 2009 (Freedom House), retrieved 17 March 2012 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Republic of Slovenia Early Elections for Deputies to the National Assembly 2011". National Electoral Commission. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Magajna: Grozili so mi z odstranitvijo" [Magajna:I was threatened with removal] (in Slovene). Retrieved 27 October 2010. 
  10. ^

External links[edit]