Elections in Slovenia: Transitioning from Populism to Democracy

Similar Posts

This post is also available in: Türkçe Русский

Run-off elections were held in Slovenia on November 13, 2022 when no candidate received 50% of the vote on October 23, 2022. In the run-off, there was a tough competition between Anze Logar, the independent candidate supported by the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), and Natasa Pirc Musar, who received the support of the Pirate Party of Slovenia (Pirati) and the Youth Party – European Greens (SMS-Z).

According to the results of the second round, Musar surpassed Logar with 54% of the vote.[1] Musar stressed the elements of freedom, dialogue, and respect after the presidential win was concluded, and claimed that the election of an independent and politically unhindered president represents the “will of the people.” However, she also stated that she will serve as a bridge between the two sides in Slovenian politics, which has recently shifted to a divide between the right and the left.[2]

It is worth noting that Musar, who has only just created a name for herself in politics, defeated Logar, who has a considerably deeper history in Slovenian politics. Therefore, this situation points to the change in the country’s politics. In fact, it is possible to attribute the beginning of this change to the Parliamentary Elections held in April 2022.

In the elections held on April 24, 2022, the far-right parties were defeated. Janez Jansa gave way to Robert Golob, who came with the focus on “freedom.” This situation has been interpreted as an important development for Slovenia. It is well known that Jansa was linked to corruption and came to the fore as a result of its efforts to manipulate the courts and the media. Within the European Union (EU), Jansa was also regarded as an actor who opposed collaboration.[3]

Jansa, an experienced politician from a well-known political party, was defeated by a candidate who entered politics only a few months before the elections. While Golub’s victory represents a loss for the far right, it may also be seen as a major step forward on the path to democracy. At the same time, this development can also be interpreted as a victory for Brussels.[4]

At this point, it is worth noting Logar’s links to Jansa, Musar’s opponent in the second round. Logar is a member of the right-wing SDS and served as Minister of Foreign Affairs when Jansa was leading the nation. Having received 34% of the votes in the first round of the elections, Logar received 46% of the votes against Musar in the second round. From this vantage point, Logar is a formidable contender versus Musar, but he is at a disadvantage because of his position in the Jansa Administration. Logar was inevitably seen as “one of his lackeys” because of his relationships with Jansa. This played a decisive role in his defeat in the election. Being aware of these accusations, Logar, on the other hand, tried to get rid of this “populist” image during the election campaign, but he was not successful.[5]

On the other hand, it is seen that Musar participated in the elections as a journalist. Musar, a former television presenter and lawyer, was seen as a hero in the face of the Jansa Administration’s pressure on the press and the judiciary. Especially the fact that she was the lawyer of Melania Trump, the wife of the previous US President Donald Trump, increased Musar’s popularity.[6] Furthermore, the fact that she was competing against Jansa and Logar, who is associated with him, bolstered his position. In this perspective, the fact that the Slovenian people turned to Musar in response to Jansa and the idea he symbolizes demonstrates that support for the extreme right in Slovenia has dwindled.

Although the presidency is a symbolic office in Slovenia, it is nonetheless a position of power that is respected. Moreover, it is also important that the president has the power to propose names to the parliament for the appointment of the president to various important institutions such as the central bank and the judiciary, and that he is defined as a guardian of the constitution.[7]

In conclusion, Musar, Slovenia’s first female president since the country’s independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, confronts a challenging assignment. Because Slovenia is on the edge of a right-left split and populist discourse is on the rise, Musar has emerged as a solution to bring the parties together.[8] In fact, unlike Pahor, it is expected that Musar, who began with human rights, dialogue, and the battle against corruption, will attempt to reinvigorate the presidency.

[1] “Slovenia Heads For Runoff in Presidential Election”, Politico,, (Date of Accession: 17.11.2022).

[2] “Nataša Pirc Musar: Potrudila Se Bom, Da Bom Resnično Predsednica Vseh”, N1 Info Slovenija, /, (Date of Accession: 17.11.2022).

[3] “Slovenian Elections: A Win For Democracy, A Loss For Populism in Europe”, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance,, (Date of Accession: 17.11.2022).

[4] “Significant Win For Brussels As France, Slovenia Back Pro-EU Leaders”, Euronews,, (Date of Accession: 17.11.2022).

[5] “Analiza Volitev-Zmaga Nataše Pirc Musar Pričakovana, Logar Presegel Pričakovanja”, Mladina,, (Date of Accession: 17.11.2022).

[6] Dusan Stojanovic, “Slovenia Elects First Woman President in A Runoff Vote”, The Washington Post,, (Date of Accession: 17.11.2022).

[7] Maja Pavlin, “Analiza Volitev: ‘Predsednik Države Mora Biti Svetilnik’”, 24ur,, (Date of Accession: 17.11.2022).

[8] Alem Maksuti, “Slovenians Won’t Vote for Jansa’s Puppet as President”, Balkan Insight, /, (Date of Accession: 17.11.2022).

Mustafa Çuhadar, İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi İngiliz Dili ve Edebiyatı Bölümü mezunudur. Lisans döneminde disiplinlerarası çalışmalarına ağırlık veren Çuhadar'ın başlıca çalışma alanları, Balkanlar ve İstihbarat çalışmalarıdır. 2021 yılında Ankara Üniversitesi Türk İnkılap Tarihi Enstitüsü’nde yüksek lisans eğitimine başlayan Çuhadar, halihazırda Bosna Hersek’teki siyasi partileri inceleyen yüksek lisans tezini hazırlamaktadır. Çuhadar, iyi derecede İngilizce, Boşnakça, Hırvatça ve Sırpça ve temel seviyede Almanca bilmektedir.