The National Assembly is composed of deputies who are citizens of the Republic of Slovenia. The Assembly numbers 90 deputies, who are elected in universal, equal, direct and secret ballots. They are representatives of the people, elected for a term of four years, provided of course that no early or extraordinary elections are called. They are not bound by any kind of instructions in their work.
One deputy each from the Italian and Hungarian ethnic communities in Slovenia are always elected to the National Assembly. With the exception of the deputies from the Italian and Hungarian ethnic communities, deputies are elected through the proportional representation system, with a 4 percent threshold for taking a seat in the National Assembly. Voters have a decisive influence on the allocation of mandates to candidates. The voting system is regulated in detail by the National Assembly Elections Act.
The National Assembly is the highest representative and legislative institution, and in addition to its basic legislative function it also performs the electoral and supervisory function of power. The National Assembly:
- adopts (legislative function):
- the Constitution or amendments thereof,
- other general legislative documents,
- rules of procedure,
- consolidated texts of acts and authentic interpretations of acts,
- the national budget, the revised budget and closing account,
- ratifies international treaties,
- calls referendums,
- appoints and dismisses (electoral function):
- the Prime Minister and ministers,
- the President and Deputy President of the National Assembly,
- Constitutional Court judges and other judges,
- the Governor of the central bank,
- members of the Court of Audit,
- the Human Rights Ombudsman and so forth;
- as part of its supervisory function:
- it orders parliamentary enquiries,
- it decides on votes of confidence or no-confidence in the Government,
- it decides on impeachment of the national President, the Prime Minister and ministers in the Constitutional Court.
The National Assembly also decides on the declaration of a state of war or emergency and on the use of defence forces. It confirms the mandates of deputies, and decides on their immunity and the immunity of Constitutional Court judges and other judges. The National Assembly functions at sessions that are regular or extraordinary. Regular sessions are called at times when the Assembly is sitting regularly, that is from 10 January to 15 June, known as the spring sitting, and from 1 September to 20 December, known as the autumn sitting.
Through the elections, voters give Assembly deputies a mandate to decide on their behalf on the most important issues arising in society.
Elections to the National Assembly
The voting system for parliamentary elections is the most comprehensively delineated, so certain fundamental principles apply to other elections in this country. The legal provisions for other elections are formulated separately, but draw and rely on the provisions governing elections to the National Assembly.
The right to vote is universal and equal, meaning that it is the right of every citizen that has reached 18 years of age to vote and be elected regardless of class, ethnic, racial, economic or other affiliation. The principle of equal suffrage is especially emphasised. Equal voting rights relate to the active voting right, and mean that each vote of each voter has the same value, that in elections for the same representative body each voter has just one vote and that their vote takes no precedence over any other. The only exception to this principle of equal voting rights is the voting rights of the Italian and Hungarian ethnic communities, which each send one deputy to the National Assembly, while voters in those communities also vote on other National Assembly deputies. The law may determine under what conditions aliens also have voting rights.
Voting rights are regulated in detail by the National Assembly Elections Act.
The voting rights of members of the Italian and Hungarian ethnic communities is specially regulated for the election of deputies from those ethnic communities, since only members of the communities – and not citizens – have the right to vote and stand for election as deputies of the Italian and Hungarian communities.
The electoral process comprises standing as a candidate, voting and determining the outcome of voting. The process begins at a precisely determined time with the calling of elections, at which point the start time and closing time of the electoral process are determined. General elections to the National Assembly are called by the President of Slovenia.
All deputies are elected at the same time in general elections. Elections are divided into regular (every four years prior to the expiry of the mandate term) and early (held if the National Assembly is dissolved during its four-year term).
Repeat elections are those held at the time of general elections, if there have been irregularities and if the elections already held have been annulled owing to voting irregularities.
Subsequent elections are those held where a ballot was not held in the voting unit or individual polling station on the day assigned for voting.
Where it is necessary to elect one or more deputies, since owing to termination of a deputy mandate during the mandate term one or more seats have become vacant, this is referred to as a replacement election (by-election). Since under Slovenian legislation, elections to the National Assembly use the proportional system, there is a rule that by-elections are not held, since if a deputy’s mandate is terminated, the candidate from the list who would have been elected had the outgoing deputy not been elected then takes the seat.
Under Slovenian electoral legislation, candidates can be proposed either by political parties or voters.
Eight constituencies are formed for the election of deputies to the National Assembly. Each constituency elects 11 deputies. Each constituency is divided into 11 districts. The law has established the principle that one candidate is elected from each electoral district. Two special constituencies are formed, one each in the areas where the Italian and Hungarian ethnic communities live.
In the procedure for allocating mandates, the state election commission first determines which candidate lists across the entire country received at least 4% of votes cast. Mandates are allocated on two levels to those lists that have reached the threshold, as follows:
- in the constituency: deputy mandates are allocated under the Droop quota;
- on the national level: deputy mandates are allocated under the d’Hondt system.
Since the Constitution requires that voters have a certain influence on the allocation of mandates, this is partly provided through the election from the candidate lists (in terms of mandates obtained) of those candidates who received the highest share of votes in the total number of votes in the electoral districts where they stood. Voters may decide only on those candidates on the list that appears in their electoral district.