The Left (Slovenia)
|Founded||24 June 2017|
|Merger of||TRS and IDS|
|Preceded by||United Left|
|Political position||Left-wing to far-left|
|European affiliation||European Left|
|Colors||Red and green|
9 / 90
0 / 8
The Left (Slovene: Levica) is an eco-socialist political party in Slovenia. The party was established on 24 June 2017 by the merger of the Party for Sustainable Development of Slovenia (TRS) and Initiative for Democratic Socialism (IDS). The party is a successor of the left-wing electoral alliance, the United Left.
United Left was an electoral alliance between the Democratic Labour Party (DSD), Party for Sustainable Development of Slovenia (TRS), and Initiative for Democratic Socialism (IDS). The alliance was also founded by a "fourth group" of non-party civic groups and movements, and autonomous individuals. It was intended to provide an alternative to the traditional political establishment which came under intense public scrutiny following the 2011 Slovenian parliamentary elections, and serve as a political outlet for the ideals of the 2012–13 Slovenian protests (termed "Pan-Slovenian uprisings" in Slovene). After a lengthy unification process, two of the allied parties merged into a single entity.
The merger was finalized on 24 June 2017, when the first party congress was held. The merger was accompanied by an exodus of IDS members who hitherto opposed unification. In keeping with IDS custom, the party leader holds the title of "coordinator". During the founding party congress, Luka Mesec was elected as coordinator (a position he previously held in IDS), and Violeta Tomič (previously leader of TRS) was elected deputy coordinator.
On 5 July 2017, Matjaž Hanžek left Levica parliamentary group to become an unaffiliated MP, thus leaving the party with only 5 parliamentary seats. He cited the "incorrect and undemocratic" unification process as the main reason for his departure. He expressed his wish to continue his work as chair of the parliamentary investigative committee looking into the TEŠ 6 affair (the committee was established as a result of a United Left initiative spearheaded by Hanžek). He was the founder and previously served as leader of TRS, but he stepped down and subsequently also left the party prior to unification.
Shortly after the 2018 parliamentary election, the party was also subject to criticism due to allegations by party technical staff of relatively low pay, burdensome workload, and poor work relations (particularly with parliamentary group secretary, Matej Kolenc). Three of the party's eight aides announced their resignation and unofficial reports alleged others were also contemplating departure. Mesec, speaking about the affair, promised increased compensation for party staff, and voiced sympathy with the staffers regarding the hefty workload, explaining that due to high productivity of Levica parliamentary group relative to its small size, both MPs and political aides needed to overwork in order to accomplish as many political goals as they did during their first term.
Minority government support (2018–)
In the 2018 Slovenian parliamentary election, The Left garnered 9.33% of the vote, winning 9 parliamentary seats. All 5 serving MPs were re-elected for second terms. Nataša Sukič (who had hitherto served as the city councilor in Ljubljana) was also elected on the party's ticket, becoming the first openly gay member of parliament in the nation's history.
After the Christian conservative New Slovenia reneged on coalition talks with the five centre-left party core led by PMcontender Marjan Šarec (leader of the eponymous election runner-up LMŠ party), The Left became the presumptive coalition partner in Šarec's efforts to attain a parliamentary majority. The Left's insistence on a NATO membership referendum was widely regarded as a deal-breaker for the more atlanticist coalition core parties. Shortly after NSi's departure from coalition negotiations, however, The Left announced that it will not demand that a commitment to a NATO referendum be included in the coalition agreement. Two days after Šarec was nominated for PM by the five-party group on August 8, The Left vowed support for his candidacy. Šarec was thus confirmed as the ninth PM on August 17, ending the longest political stalemate in the nation's history while also forming the country's first minority government due to The Left's decision not to formally enter the governing coalition.
Platform and policies
Cerar government (2014–2018)
In March 2015, a proposed legal amendment intended to institute gay marriage that was put forward by United Left passed with overwhelming support of parliament. The change was, however, subsequently rejected during the Slovenian same-sex marriage referendum later that year. UL MP Tomić vowed to continue to fight for the approval of the law change, calling the result of the referendum a temporary setback.
United Left introduced bills to allow industrial hemp cultivation for foodstuffs production (passed), increase the maximum allowed concentration of THC in industrial hemp to allow for cultivation of more hardy native industrial hemp cultivars, and the cultivation and prescription use of medicinal cannabis (passed).
UL MP Franc Trček co-sponsored a bill to lower burdensome excise taxes on Slovene microbreweries to help make these more competitive by enabling faster initial growth (i.e. more hiring, investment, and product development).
In April 2017, United Left proposed excluding employee benefits from the minimum wage (under existing law, the principal wage could be lower than the minimum wage as long as employment benefits pushed the total compensation sum over the mandated minimum wage threshold). In December 2017, The Left proposed increasing a minimum wage 20% in excess of the cost of living. In February 2018, The Left proposed excluding child benefit payments when determining welfare payments (under extant law, many families received lower welfare payment because they also qualified for child benefits, and some ended up not qualifying for welfare payments at all).
In September 2017, The Left called for an emergency session of the Committee on Infrastructure, Environment and Spatial Planning, to address the failure to utilise allocated EU Cohesion Funds for the alleviation of energy poverty.
In October 2017, The Left proposed the renationalisation (repurchase and restructuring) of the nation's largest grocery store chain, Mercator, which was privatised in 2014, as the strategically important retailer was experiencing an uncertain future under the by then failing parent company, Agrokor.
In November 2017, The Left proposed legislation banning the sale of single-use/disposable plastic bags, utensils, cups, and wrappings, and microplastics (passed), and convened an extraordinary session of parliament to address the loss of student status (and, consequently, various benefits, including healthcare) of some 2,000 students due to recent legislative changes (resolved).
In December 2017, The Left called for an emergency session of the Committee on Labour to address poor working conditions in newsagents' shops, and proposed expediting the landholdings denationalisation legislative process and curbing damages due (the protracted denationalisation of landholdings and consequent damages largely relate to former Catholic Church holdings).
In January 2018, The Left proposed an amendment to energy legislation that would allow (multiple) individuals to invest in renewable energy facilities in geographically remote areas and have the value of electricity added to the grid by the facilities deducted from their electricity bill.
In March 2018, The Left proposed limiting executive compensation in publicly and municipality owned companies to five times the wage of the lowest paid employee in the company (died in committee).
|Year||Popular vote||% of popular vote||Overall seats won||Seat change||Government|
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