Published 25th November, 2011
The Social Democrats or SD were formerly known as the United List of Social Democrats (ZLSD) and were founded prior to the 1992 general election as an alliance of factions from the former ruling League of Communists and others. The describe themselves as centre-left and believe in the thrid way and social democracy.
The United List (ZL) as it was then, was the largest party in the first multi-party elections in 1990, with 17.3% of the vote and 14 of the 80 seats in the National Assembly, but they ended up in opposition.
In the 1992 elections the ZL came third with 14 seats but 13.6% of the vote. The United List decided to join a ‘big coalition’ including the two larger parties, the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS) and the Slovene Christian Democrats (SKD)
After the election there were further talks and the ZLSD was formed in April 1993. They remained as member of the government until the general election of 1996. In that general election they lost part of their former grouping and did badly, taking just nine seats with 9.03% of the vote and coming fifth.
Their fortunes recovered in 2000 when they took 11 seats and 12.07% of the vote to come third. They entered into the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS) led coalition government.
In 2004 they dropped slightly, taking ten seats and 10.17% of the vote but retained their third place. Soon after, in 2005 the party decided to adopt the shorter title of Social Democrats (SD). At their 2006 congress, for the first time the party chose to distance itself from its communist past and condemned the communist dictatorship of the post World War II period.
With the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia in decline and some key members crossing over to the Social Democrats, the SD were well placed to become the main centre-left party and in 2008 they won the general election. The Social Democrats were able to win 29 of the 90 seats in the National Assembly and took 30.45% of the vote. They immediately did a deal with the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS), the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS) and Zares and the SD leader, Borut Pahor, became the new prime minister.
The Social Democrats are observer members of the Socialist International, members of the Party of European Socialists. The SD is also a member of the European Parliament bloc, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, where they currently hold two of the eight national seats.