Electoral Processes

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Voice of the People

Voice of the People: Increasing voter engagement and monitoring campaign commitments 


The Problem
Rampant corruption, evidenced by dubious procurement practices during the pandemic and disregard for human rights, has eroded public trust in Slovenia. Government actions including stifling dissent and manipulating administrative processes for political gain have fueled widespread disillusionment and voter apathy. One of the main reasons for this indifference and discouragement among voters is the general perception that "politicians are all the same" and no matter who is elected and on what grounds, it will be "business as usual" the day after the election. The issue is a vicious circle: when those in power view their positions as untouchable and use the law for their own benefit, this leads to voter apathy and resignation, which in turn fuels the feeling of privilege among the ruling class.  

The Approach
In response to Slovenia's struggle against the tide of populism, Voice of the People emerged in the autumn of 2021 with a clear mandate: to shift the political narrative towards meaningful, substantive discussions. After over 18 months of rule by a far-right government, marked by authoritarian tendencies and disregard for democratic principles, Slovenian citizens were eager for change. With voter turnout consistently hovering around 50% due to widespread disillusionment with politics, the initiative embarked on a bold nationwide "Traveling Festival of Democracy" to galvanize voter participation for the 2022 elections. This innovative campaign traversed the country, hosting public debates and engaging citizens from all walks of life in critical dialogue. At its core were 138 political demands, formulated to serve as a litmus test for the commitment of participating parties to genuine reform. Following the election, the initiative transitioned into a watchdog role, monitoring the government's adherence to its pre-election promises and publishing detailed progress reports. The initiative's core mission is twofold: to galvanize voter turnout and to inject substance back into political discourse. By demanding concrete commitments from candidates and holding them accountable post-election, the initiative aims to break the cycle of political complacency and impunity and empower citizens to reclaim their voice in governance. 

The Impact

  • Slovenia’s 2022 voter turnout soared to an unprecedented 71%, marking a historic shift towards a more inclusive and representative government. 

  • The new ruling coalition accepted 122 out of the 138 initial demands, showcasing a newfound commitment to addressing citizen concerns. 

  • Government accountability has been enhanced as most parties actively engage in the monitoring process, providing crucial information on their progress. 

  • Comprehensive yearly monitoring reports meticulously rate each commitment on a six-degree scale, offering transparent insight into their implementation status. Noteworthy progress includes the full implementation of seven commitments, while efforts continue on others. 

  • The project fostered unprecedented collaboration among diverse organizations and associations that united behind the 138 demands, fueling collective action towards their realization. 

The Future
The initiative maintains vigilant government monitoring. In spring 2024, it will launch a campaign to boost voter turnout for the European Parliament elections. Simultaneously, it will spearhead initiatives for affordable housing, advocate for peace talks in Gaza, and uphold public healthcare protection efforts. It remains steadfast in preparing for the upcoming parliamentary election to safeguard democracy and sustain robust voter participation.