Written by Klemen Žumer and Yann-Sven Rittelmeyer.
Since 1991 the Republic of Slovenia has had a parliamentary system composed of the Državni zbor (National Assembly) and the Državni svet (National Council). The Slovenian Parliament has the features of an ‘incomplete bicameral system‘, based on ‘asymmetric duality‘ – the National Council has less authority and fewer competences than the National Assembly, in accordance with Chapter IV of the Constitution.
The National Assembly is described as the ‘supreme representative and legislative institution, exercising legislative and electoral powers as well as control over the Executive‘. Its members are elected every four years from nine constituencies by a universal, equal, direct, and secret vote. Different, specific, rules apply to the election of one member each of the Italian and Hungarian national communities. The Government of Slovenia is accountable to the National Assembly, and the Prime Minister is elected by the National Assembly by a majority vote of all of its members.
The National Council is the representative body for social, economic, professional, and local interests and has mainly a consultative role. According to Article 96 of the Constitution, it is composed of a fixed number of representatives of labour and social interests (employers, employees, farmers, crafts and trades, independent professions and non-commercial fields) and representatives of local interests (territorial interests). The members do not hold office professionally and are elected for a five-year term from the relevant interest organisations or local communities. Political parties are not specifically represented in the National Council but it is not entirely free of political influence, especially when it comes to members representing local interests.
The National Assembly is the sole body that can adopt laws, under a legislative procedure governed by the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly. Legislative proposals may be initiated by the Government, any Assembly member, a minimum of 5 000 voters (Article 88 of the Constitution), or by the National Council (Article 97). Whereas the National Assembly is in charge of adopting the laws, the primary role of the National Council is to convey its opinion and it has a ‘suspensive veto’ that allows to ask the National Assembly to examine a law once more, within seven days of its adoption and before its promulgation. Like the National Assembly, the National Council can also demand inquiries on matters of public importance, when this is requested by a third of its members (Article 93).
Read this complete briefing on ‘The Slovenian Parliament and EU affairs‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.