So the unofficial results of Slovene elections are in, including the overseas/expat vote and in the end very little changed. NSi, the one party which was hoping for an election miralce, did get a substantial percentage of the vote (16 percent of the overseas/expat vote as opposed to 3.26 of the domestic vote) but it was too little too late, especially since only about a quarter of 40.000 eligible votes were mailed in. The only person who probably loudly laments the expat vote is Silvo Mesojedec of SDS in voting unit 6 (Novo mesto), who lost his seat to Zvonko Lah (also SDS) by a mere 0.09 percent of the vote.
The distribution of seats in the parliament is as follows:
Distribution of seats in the new parliament (source: National Electoral Commission)
The National Electoral Commission will confirm the results on Friday (SDS has already stated that it will not contest the results), which means that the Prez will convene the first session of the parliament within twenty days starting Friday, 3 October.
The first session of the parliament will be presided by the oldest member of the parliament, probably Vasja Klavora of DeSUS. During this session the parilament will confirm the mandates of all ninety MPs and elect its leadership: the president and three vice-presidents, one of which will be chosen from the ranks of opposition MPs. They also form standing committees and divide membership in these committees according to a party’s standing the new coalition (one notable exception being the commitee on intelligience agencies which is headed by a member of the oppostion). The pick for the post of the President of the Parliament (technically the second most important position in the country) will also answer the question of what kind of government can we expect. Specifically, whether all coalition party leaders will hold ministerial posts or whether their influence will be dispersed over various institutions.
More on the above some time in the next twenty days, but suffice it to say that it would be prudent that the post of the President of Parliament should go to one of the junior coalition parties. With this the focal point of coalition decision making would shift towards the parliament (both in terms of division of powers as well as geographically), which would be a welcome improvement, since both the PM and the president of parliament were members of SDS, a fact that vastly contributed to having a rubber-stamp parliament most of the time during the last four years (unless DeSUS was in its rebelious mood and SNS wasn’t on the same page).
In any case: Within thirty days of the initial session of the parliament, the President of the Republic holds consultations with leaders of parliamentary groups (including minorities) and decides on his candidate for the PM. The Prez proposes this person (usually leader of the victorious party, or anyone else of whom he is given assurance that can secure an absolute majority of forty-six votes) to the parliament, which holds a secret ballot. The candidate is empowered with the mandate to form a government if he or she wins an absolute majority (46+ votes total).
This is not the end, however.
Within fifteen days the candidate for MP must propose his cabinet, with all the ministers appearing before hearing committees where they outline their policies for the next four years. Hearing committees will hold a non-binding vote on the candidate and all of the candidates for ministerial posts will then be voted on en masse by the parliament in a plenary session. They too must win an absolute majority of votes, creating a curious situation where ministers are firstly reponsible to the parliament for their actions rather then to the PM and it is the parliament which can recall them, not the PM.
On the other hand, things can go wrong (not that I expect them to). If the Candidate for PM fails to form a functioning government – possibly because he couldn’t get an agreement on who will get which department of the government, or couldn’t win the nomination to begin with, the Prez can nominate another person to the post (or repeat the nomination, depending on the circumstances) within a fourth-night. However, at this point the plot thickens since any ten MPs can propose their own candidate, regardless of his/her ability to form a functioning government. But as I said, things will probably go more or less smoothly and Borut Pahor should become the next Prime Minister no later than the end of November.