- スラヴ研究 (ISSN:05626579)
- vol.52, pp.39-61, 2005
In Slovenia, the first parliamentary election was held in 1990. The coalition DEMOS, which was formed by the newly-founded Social Democratic Party of Slovenia (SDS) and other new parties, won the election. The DEMOS government played a decisive role in the process of the independence of Slovenia from Yugoslavia. The second election was held in 1992. The center-left SDS achieved limited success in this election. Though the SDS was included in the coalition government formed by the Liberal Democrats of Slovenia (LDS, the former League of Socialist Youth), the United List of Social Democrats (ZLSD, the former League of Communists) and the Christian Democrats of Slovenia (SKD, the center-right new party), it considered a merger with the Socialist Party of Slovenia (SSS) for its survival. However, after the party leader Janez Janša was removed from the position of defence minister because of a military scandal in March 1994, the SDS stepped out from the ruling coalition and abandoned much of its social-democratic platform. The party turned into a rightist party, which strongly emphasized nationalism and anti-communism. The SDS was very successful in this turn, and it has been the strongest opposition party since the 1996 elections. In this paper, the author analyzes the factors that are related to the success of this right turn by the SDS. The first factor was an intra-party factor, the political leadership of the party leader Janša. As a dissident from the communist time and a hero in the country's bid for independence, he has been regarded as a charismatic leader in Slovene politics. He excels in perceiving public opinion and exploiting it for his political purpose, rather than initiating policies by himself. Thus, he perceived and started to exploit nationalism and anti-communism among people who stood up for him when he was ousted from his cabinet position. The SDS followed him firmly since the party executive backed him, and the greater part of the party were members who newly joined in support of him. The second factor was an inter-party factor, the close linkage between political parties and interest groups, and the absence of a strong nationalist party. By 1994, the main parties built close relations with their interest groups, for example, the LDS with the capitalist class, the ZLSD with the working class, the SKD with the Catholic Church and the Slovene People's Party (SLS, the center-right party which emerged in 1989 as the former Slovene Farmers' Alliance) with farmers. On the other hand, the far-right in the Slovene political spectrum was vacant at that time due to the split of the SNS (Slovene National Party) into several groups. The SDS, which had failed in getting the support of the working class, used this vacancy and succeeded in approaching the voters of the right. The third factor was a sociopolitical factor, the control of administrative structure by the government coalition. In Slovenia, various laws and administrative organs were established intensively after independence. Eventually, when the administrative structure was established or reformed, officials were largely recruited from party members of the then government coalition. The LDS, ZLSD and SKD appointed their members as leaders of the ministries. Thus, the government coalition in 1993 gained control of the administrative structure. The SDS, which was ousted from the coalition, started to criticize this control as the restoration of communist power (LDS, ZLSD) with the help of the collaborationists (SKD). This criticism by the SDS drew the support of the people who didn't enjoy the benefits of the transition. The fourth factor was an institutional factor, the introduction of corporatism, and the ZLSD's domination over it. In Slovenia, corporatism, which consists of the National Council, the chamber system and social partnership, has been introduced since 1992. By 1994, the ZLSD succeeded in dominating the social partnership, the main institution of Slovene corporatism, through its connections with the government, the trade union and the employers' association. This seemed to be the revitalization of the former system to its critics. The SDS started to demand change in the existing trade unions and employers' association, to draw the support of these critics. The fifth factor was a historical factor, the split in the Slovene nation over their modern history. During World War II and the Nazi occupation, Slovenes were divided into two sides, the communist-led partisans and the collaborationists. After the end of communist rule, the Catholic Church, on behalf of the collaborationists, started to revise historical events during WWII to justify their past collaboration. Since then Slovenes have once again become divided over their modern history, whether they take sides with the partisans or the collaborationists. The SDS, which was not previously a supporter of the collaborationists, started to advocate them and succeeded in attracting support from them. The sixth factor was a geographical factor, namely the smallness of the state. With a territory of about 20,000 square kilometers and a population of 2 million, administrative and economic structures in Slovenia are small and simple. Under this circumstance, the SDS's criticism of the heritage of the former regime seemed concrete to its supporters, though it was actually distorted. In Slovenia, parties form a coalition government based on its proportional electoral system which often does not produce a majority party. The SDS had kept its political influence through criticizing the former communists in power and being in opposition. The SDS became the first party in the parliametary election in 2004, and formed a coalition government with other rightist parties. Now the question is whether or not the SDS will be able to keep the same political stance as when it was in opposition.