Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Slovenia Is Facing Early Elections on December 4th

Dessislava Dimitrova, October 26, 2011

While Europe is struggling with the debt crisis, one of the tiniest Eurozone members is still trying to exit the political crisis in the country. The crisis, that has been smouldering for several months now, went deeper last month when, following an unsuccessful row of reforms which led to a drop of voters' confidence, Borut Pahor’s government lost also parliament’s support.

The expected outcome became clear last Friday (October 21) when President Danilo Turk dissolved the parliament and called early parliamentary elections on December 4. And, as setting the date for the snap elections was only a matter of time, in Slovenia the main question for couple of months now has been whether the left wing will be able to find allies in order to continue to rule in the coming four years, or the right-wing leader and former Prime Minister Janez Jansa will come back on the scene.

An interesting detail in the whole picture is the option Jansa’s opponent in the elections to be Zoran Jankovic, born in Serbia, current mayor of Ljubljana and former CEO of one of the largest companies in the country.

The unconfirmed talks have it that Jankovic would appear as an independent candidate, but he would be backed by the left parties in the countries, which according to polls, carried out after Pahor’s government fell, have been seriously losing the voters’ support.

And while the political outcome will be clear after the elections in December, it is already clear that the government crisis has already had a negative impact on the country, as another credit rating agency downgraded Slovenia’s government rating. On Thursday (October 20) Standard & Poor's lowered Slovenia's rating to 'AA-/A-1+', as according to the agency the country’s fiscal position had deteriorated since the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, while at the same time policy makers had not thus far presented a consolidation strategy that could be considered credible.

Besides, according to the agency, further delays of the structural reforms could put at risk the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy and thus its growth prospects. In its report, Standard & Poor’s also said that the relatively prosperous and economically stable period since Slovenia's independence had also encouraged the government to be complacent about structural reforms; this has put further pressure on government finances. Combined with Slovenia's consensus-based approach to policy making and the weakened political resolve of its fragmented governing coalition, this has resulted in a slower-than-expected response to the fiscal deterioration, it added.

The analysts expect the new government to stop this process and carry out the delayed reforms in order to bring Slovenia’s economy to fiscal prudence and primary budget surpluses that characterised Slovenia's fiscal stance before the crisis.