Slovenia’s populist PM loses election to an environmentalist party

Slovenia's populist PM loses election to an environmentalist party Source: BARBARA JAKŠE JERŠIČ

Slovenia went to the polls on Sunday April 24th in a surprise result as the country’s populist PM loses the election to the environmentalist Freedom Movement Party.

The outgoing prime minister Janša, who had hoped to win a fourth term in office, conceded that he had been defeated in the vote. He did however add that his SDS party had secured more votes than ever before.

He said: “The results are what they are. Congratulations to the relative winner.”

The Freedom Movement, newcomers to the election took a little over 34 percent of the vote while the SDS slumped to roughly 24 percent.

The election brings a change in direction for the country with the winning party campaigning on an environmental platform and a transition to green energy. Included in their manifesto was the desire for a more open society and the rule of law.

The result gives the Freedom Movement 40 of the 90 seats and although that is not a majority, the party is expected to rule along with the left leaning Social Democrats. Turnout was put at 68 percent of the 1.7 million eligible to vote in the small Alpine member of the European Union and NATO.

Experts said the turnout was well above the national average with Peter Merše, a political analyst saying: “The biggest winner is of course the Freedom Movement. Slovenia is once again experimenting with new faces, with people we have hardly even heard of before.”

Formed only last year by Robert Golob founded an energy trading company of which he was chair until 2021. Holding a PhD in Electrical Engineering , Golob was also a council member of Nova Gorica.

Thought to have contracted Covid-19, Golob thanked his supporters via video call saying: “It does not mean that we are the unique ones, it means that people really want change. So today people are dancing but tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow we start working hard to justify trust.”

Golob will be welcomed by the EU with Janša, the 63-year-old populist having clashed with Brussels over media freedoms. He had been accused by opponents of undermining democratic standards, something he has always denied.

Janša, wished his opponent well and said that he hoped he was up to the task as he wil have many challenges to face. Golob is however versed in politics having been the State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2002.

Locals who cast their votes said they did not want politicians like Janša anymore. For them the last two years have been desperate and new faces are wanted and needed.

The result in Slovenia is according to some refreshing and a shift away from the populist politics of other Eastern Europe countries, with voters having high hopes that the environmentalist Freedom Movement can deliver for them.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]


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