Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS)

Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS). The LDS was Slovenia’s dominant political force between 1992 and 2004.

The party was actually formed from the Association of Socialist Youth of Slovenia and is its legal successor. The party quickly became the vehicle of Janez Drnovsek. Drnovsek was a former communist who had won the first election organised in Slovenia when he defeated another communist (preferred by the regime) to be elected to the collective Yugoslav Presidency. He used his position to mediate the peaceful withdrawal of the Yugoslav war following the Ten Day War.

Drnovsek was drafted in as a neutral compromise candidate for the Prime Ministership and then joined and became leader of the LDS later that year. He subsequently served as Prime Minister of Slovenia until 2002, save for six months in 2000, showing impressive longevity for an East-Central European premier in this period.

Drnovsek pursued a gradualist approach towards re-orientating towards capitalism and pursued broad based coalition governments.

After Drnovsek became President the party began to suffer from infighting and corruption scandals. It lost its dominant position in 2004 when it was surpassed by the SDS, and left in the opposition. It found itself a junior coalition partner to the Social Democrats, losing its predominant position on the centre-left as well in 2008. It subsequently fell apart.

The party is broadly centrist to centre-left. It could be described as left-liberal but it is probably more truthful to say that the party lacks true ideology.

At its core the LDS had been a party of power, not particularly ideological beyond a commitment to the transition to liberal democratic capitalism and to entering the EU. The party failed to win any seats in the 2011 general election.

The party’s support is now negligible.

The party’s single MEP, Jelko Kacin, perhaps realising he was likely doomed attempted to create an ‘alliance of liberal forces’ including LDS, Zares and Positive Slovenia, but PS would not allow him to head the list. Kacin is thus running an independent campaign.

The party is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. Kacin is a loyal sort, voting alongside his group 98.3% of the time, third in the group.