Confessions of a Political Animal

November 7, 2008

European Left Watch: Endgame in Slovenia

Borut Pahor, Slovenia's new Social Democrat Prime Minister

Borut Pahor, Slovenia's new Social Democrat Prime Minister

Just briefly posting to note the conclusion of that other election saga that has been gripping the world’s attention: Slovenia is about to have a new government. We reported back in September that the Slovenian Social Democrat partyhad narrowly emerged as the largest party in the Parliament following the general election, apparently ending the reign of the centre-right coalition led by Janez Jansa.

A mere seven weeks on from the results being declared, the negotiations for a new coalition have concluded, with a new government about to be formed by the expected coalition of the Social Democrats, two liberal parties (Zares and the Liberal Democrats) and the left-leaning Pensioner’s Party. The new coalition will hold 50 of the 90 seats in the National Assembly, providing a sizeable majority, and will be headed by Social Democrat leader Borut Pahor. Pahor will be confirmed as Prime Minister by the National Assembly tomorrow (yes – a parliament meeting on a Saturday apparently!).

Despite it being centre left-led, I wouldn’t expect anything too radical from the new government – (more…)

October 27, 2008

European Left Watch: Out of office in Lithuania

Seimas (Parliament) Building, Vilnius

Seimas (Parliament) Building, Vilnius

We reported two weeks ago on the first round of Lithuania’s parliamentary elections. From the first set of results it was clear that the Social Democrat-led coalition was headed for a particularly nasty defeat, with the lead party itself set to arrive in fourth place overall. Well, two weeks on the news isn’t any better, with the constituency seats now declaring.

The Lietuvos socialdemokratų partija (Lithuanian Social Democratic Party) do appear to have done a little better in the constituency run-offs that took place yesterday than they did in the proportional list based seats decided last week – presumably because the power of incumbency for established party representatives allowed some in-roads to be made against the newly-established populist parties who did remarkably well in the list votes. This means that the Social Democrats are likely to be able to claw themselves into second place in terms of Seimas seats, but well short of the resurgent Tėvynės sąjunga – Lietuvos krikscionys demokratai (Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats).

The two new ‘populist’ parties, the National Resurrection Party founded just last year by Lithuanian TV personality Arünas Valinskas who hosts the country’s version of Pop Idol (Politicalbetting considers if (more…)

September 22, 2008

European Left Watch: Breakthrough in Slovenia

Slovenian Parliament, Ljubljana

Slovenian Parliament, Ljubljana

In the early life of this blog, I promised to keep a watch on the electoral fortunes of Labour’s sister parties in Europe. And whilst it isn’t big (but is certainly beautiful), and the current incumbent of the White House isn’t quite sure about its identity, our first point of call is the republic of Slovenia, pop. 2.02 million and the richest of the former Yugoslav states.

Slovenia went to the polls yesterday in a parliamentary general election for the Drzavni zbor (National Assembly), with a turnout of 62.2%. Whilst the results are not yet official, at least in part due to the need to await overseas votes (these account for over 2.5% of the electorate and are expected by Wednesday), it seems highly likely that a coalition led by the Socialni demokrati(Social Democrats – in part a descendant of the Yugoslav Communist Party) will have narrowly defeated the incumbent centre-right coalition of Prime Minister Janez Jansa. The result is something of a surprise, as opinion polls as late as last week were giving a sizable lead to Jansa, despite corruption allegations, although the most recent polls suggested the race was tightening.

It now seems likely that Social Democrat leader Borut Pahor (currently an MEP) will become Prime Minister at the head of a three party coalition involving (more…)

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