Slovenians Vote in a Tight Race Between Populists, Liberals

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On Sunday, Slovenians will go to the polls to vote in a parliamentary election that is likely to be a close contest between the ruling right-wing populist party of Prime Minister Janez Jansa and the opposition green-liberal party in the politically split European Union country.

On Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Sentilj, Slovenia, a voter casts his ballot. Slovenians voted in a parliamentary election that is likely to be a close contest between Prime Minister Janez Jansa’s right-wing populists and liberals.

Slovenians Vote in a Tight Race Between Populists, Liberals
Image source: Bradenton Herald

In the 90-member legislature, over 1.7 million voters will pick from a variety of political parties competing for seats. Prior to the election, the reigning conservative Slovenian Democratic Party and the newly founded Freedom Movement were polling at the top of the polls.

Surveys, on the other hand, have shown that there would be no clear winner in the election and that a coalition government, consisting of at least three or four parties, will have to be created after the vote.

Following the vote on Sunday, Jansa stated, “Today is a significant day because these elections will determine how Slovenia will evolve not just in the next four years, but also in the following decade.” “Expectations are in a good place.”

Jansa was appointed prime minister a little more than two years ago, following the resignation of the previous liberal prime minister. Jansa, a supporter of former United States President Donald Trump, has moved the country to the right since taking power at the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Robert Golob, a former business entrepreneur who received his education in the United States, and his Freedom Movement party are the primary challengers on Sunday. Over the course of Jansa’s national-centered narrative, the party has campaigned for green energy transition and sustainable development.

The two blocs are expected to receive about identical numbers of votes — approximately 20-25 percent — which means that the makeup and direction of the next administration might be determined by which minor organizations cross the 4 percent electoral threshold in the upcoming election. As a result, some believe Golob has a greater chance than Jansa of forging a post-election partnership.

Four years ago, Jansa’s SDS received the most votes in an election, but it was unable to form a coalition government because it could not find allies. After liberal Prime Minister Marjan Sarec resigned in 2020, legislators from centrist and left-leaning factions switched sides, and he was appointed as the new leader of the opposition.

In the aftermath of the election, Jansa has been accused of slipping into authoritarian leadership in the manner of his friend, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Following claims that Jansa exerted pressure on opponents and the media, and positioned loyalists in crucial positions to maintain control over state institutions, the EU launched an investigation into his actions.

Slovenia’s liberals have characterized Sunday’s election as a referendum on the country’s long-term destiny. If Jansa is reelected, they warn, the usually moderate nation would be pushed further away from “fundamental” EU democratic ideals and toward other populist governments, rather than closer to them.

While political rights and civil liberties are generally respected in Slovenia, the democracy watchdog Freedom House recently stated that “the current right-wing government has continued attempts to undermine the rule of law and democratic institutions, including the media” and “the judiciary” is under attack.

The 63-year-old political veteran Jansa has categorically refuted this, claiming he is the victim of an organized communist smear campaign against him. In order to improve his public image ahead of the election, Jansa has separated himself from Orban and taken a firm position against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Published by- NIKITA GOSWAMI

Tharun Pranav
Tharun Pranav
Tharun Pranav is a Law student in the School of Law, Christ University. He is an Extrovert and a Pensive person in nature. One of his strengths is Sarcasm. He also has a passion for Space, Economics and Sports. You can find him online on Instagram or LinkedIn.

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