Elections to the National Assembly
Citizens elect the Deputies of the National Assembly on the basis of universal and equal suffrage in a direct, general and secret ballot. Deputies, except for the deputies of the national communities, are elected according to the principle of proportional representation with a four-percent threshold required for election to the National Assembly
Fundamental legal principles
The seats are divided in accordance with the proportional system, which is supplemented with certain elements of a majority system. Specifically, these include voting for certain candidates in electoral districts and determining a threshold for entering the National Assembly. The Deputies are elected by constituencies formed in such a way that voters in these constituencies elect the same number of Deputies per approximately the same number of citizens.
The selection of candidates (and the candidacy procedure) take place mainly within the political parties. The will of the party members and support by the voters or the Deputies must be observed. The Act also permits the lists of candidates to be proposed by the voters themselves. The latter vote on individual candidates on the lists of candidates by individual electoral districts.
Types of election
The elections to the National Assembly may be general, by-elections, repeat and subsequent.
In a general election, the voters elect all the Deputies of the National Assembly. Within the framework of general elections, there are regular and early elections. Regular elections are held every four years prior to the expiry of the term, and early elections are held if the National Assembly is dissolved during its four-year term, as stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia.
In contrast to general elections, other elections to the National Assembly are called only in respect of individual Deputies (by-elections) or regarding a section of the election (repeat and subsequent elections).
Constituencies are the areas into which the entire territory in which the elections take place is divided before the elections. For elections to the National Assembly the whole country is divided into eight constituencies.
The constituencies are divided into electoral districts, i.e. into as many districts as there are Deputies being elected in a constituency, i.e. eleven electoral districts in each constituency. The candidates are not elected by individual electoral districts. Instead, the votes they receive at the elections are added up to the benefit of the list of candidates at the level of the constituency.
A citizen of the Republic of Slovenia who has reached the age of 18 on the day of the vote has the right to vote and to be elected as a Deputy. The exception are persons who have reached the age of 18 but who, when placed under guardianship, have been found by a court to be incapable of understanding the meaning, purpose and effects of elections. The latter must be determined separately by a decision of the court in the procedure of deprivation of the right to vote.
Voters exercise their right to vote in the constituency of their permanent residence or where they or one of their parents had their permanent residence last. The latter applies to persons without a permanent residence in the Republic of Slovenia or those who have so decided on their own.
The members of the Italian or Hungarian national communities with a voting right may also vote and be elected as Deputies of the Italian or Hungarian national communities.
Voters vote in person and by secret ballot. No one can vote by proxy. No one may be held liable for voting or be required to state whether they have voted, how they have voted or why they have not voted.
The candidacy procedure takes place before the election commission of the constituency and the State Election Commission. The candidates may be proposed by political parties and voters.
The list of candidates may only consist of as many candidates as there are Deputies to be elected in the constituency. A candidate may only stand for election in one constituency and on one list of candidates; no gender may be represented on the candidate list with less than 35 per cent of the total number of candidates on the list.
Approval of the lists of candidates
The lists of candidates must be submitted to the election commission of the constituency no later than 30 days before the day of the vote. The latter issues a decision approving or rejecting the lists of candidates within 20 days of the day of the vote.
Establishing the election result
When electing Deputies, the principle that political interests must be represented proportionately is observed. The seats are allocated at two levels, i.e. in the constituency and at the level of the entire country. The seats are allocated on the basis of the electoral quota in the constituency, which is calculated in such a way that the total number of votes received for all lists of candidates in a constituency is divided by the number of Deputies elected in the constituency increased by one and rounded up to the next whole number. The number of votes for a list is then divided by this quota. The list receives as many seats as the quota contained in the number of these votes.
The threshold to enter the National Assembly is set at four per cent of the total votes cast. The lists or same-name lists which failed to reach the national threshold are not considered in the allocation of seats.
The seats not allocated by constituencies are distributed at the national level, so that the lists or same-name lists obtain as many seats as is the difference between the number of seats which they would receive on the basis of the sum of votes at the state level and the number of seats obtained in the constituencies.
Organisation of elections
The organisation of elections enables its technical implementation. The electoral authorities conducting and implementing the elections play a critical role. Elections to the National Assembly are conducted by the State Election Commission, election commissions of the constituencies and district electoral commissions.
Two election commissions of special constituencies are appointed for the elections of the Deputies of the Italian and Hungarian national communities. The election committees appointed for each election conduct the elections directly at the polling stations. The State Election Commission supervises and harmonises the election procedures.
Protection of the right to vote
The voting right is one of the fundamental political rights. Protection of the right to vote is primarily intended for the protection of freedom and secrecy of the vote and supervision during the establishment of the election results. The exercise of the protection of the right to vote is ensured in the procedure before the election commissions and the National Assembly. Judicial protection of the right to vote is ensured before the court.
The elections to the National Assembly are governed by the National Assembly Election Act. The Act regulates substantive law issues, particularly the voting right, the formation of constituencies, the organisation of elections and procedural matters, i.e. the method of voting, the establishment of the election result and the protection of the right to vote.
In February 2021, the Act Amending the National Assembly Election Act was adopted (ZVDZ-D).
One of the main ZVDZ-D innovations is the amendment of the electoral system for the Deputies of the national communities. According to the previous arrangement, these two Deputies were elected as per the so-called Borda count. Due to the complexity of this electoral system, the latter has changed or simplified and introduced a single-round majority electoral system for voting Deputies of the Italian and Hungarian national communities to the National Assembly.
The ZVDZ-D also supplemented the provisions that improve the organisation and implementation of the elections or introduced solutions which proved successful in practice, i.e. a PIN number must be provided on the list of candidates instead of the date of birth, which will ensure an efficient and simplified verification of candidacies through the information system computer connection to support electoral tasks by means of this unique identifier with the voting rights register (amendment of Article 51 of the ZVDZ). A comprehensive legal basis for maintaining a database of candidate lists by the State Election Commission was also determined with regard to its legal powers and to ensure technical support during the election.
The ZVDZ-D also addressed the recommendations to supplement the electoral law in such a way that persons who have been deprived of their liberty unexpectedly or who have been unexpectedly admitted to a hospital or a social care institution later than ten days before the day of the vote are able to exercise their right to vote. In such cases, the deadline to communicate their intention for postal voting is shortened from ten to five days in accordance with the ZVDZ-D.