Liberal environmentalist party unseats right-wing populist Janez Jansa from power in Slovenia | International
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The Freedom Movement (GS), a newly minted environmentalist and liberal party in Slovenia, defeated the right-wing populist leader Janez Jansa in parliamentary elections last Sunday. Jansa’s Democratic Party (SDS), who will not repeat as prime minister, obtained just over 24% of the votes, compared to the GS, which reached 35% of the support. The winning formation, led by Robert Golob, will have 41 seats, 11 more than the SDS, according to the count of the country’s state Electoral Commission. Turnout in the elections was 70%, the highest level since 2000.
“People want change,” proclaimed Golob, a 55-year-old former energy expert, during his first speech. “Today we dance, but tomorrow a new day begins. Tomorrow we will start working hard,” said the environmental leader, according to the Bloomberg agency.
The National Assembly of Slovenia has a total of 90 seats, so the absolute majority threshold is 46, five more than those obtained by the GS. In his first appearance after learning of his victory, Golob stated that the first talks on the government coalition would take place in the coming days, and that neither the SDS nor the New Slovenia party (NSi), right-wing and center-right formations, —which managed to 27 and eight seats, respectively—are on the list of parties with which the GS intends to meet shortly.
The Social Democratic Party, partner of the GS, won seven seats, and the Left took five, so everything indicates that Golob will have enough partners to exceed the threshold of 46 parliamentarians. Consequently, Janez Jansa will be forced to leave the post of Prime Minister, which he has held since 2020 and which he also held on two other occasions, between the periods of 2004 to 2008 and 2012 to 2013.
According to the Constitution, Parliament must be constituted within 20 days after the elections, and the country’s president must nominate the future prime minister within 30 days. According to these deadlines, the country should have a new government at the beginning of July, although Golob ruled last night that “the situation in Slovenia and the world is too demanding to be able to afford two or three months before starting to act.”
After the vote, in a public appearance, the prime minister and leader of the SDS, who has been strongly criticized by Brussels, congratulated his opponent on the results and lamented the lack of support among the formations related to his policies. “Not all the parties that worked with the coalition in one way or another joined,” Janez Jansa stressed. However, he assured that “the result gives an image of great participation, which we welcome,” referring to the party he presides over.
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Also, in his speech, Jansa pointed out that they have equaled “the best result of the party in history” and have increased “significantly” the number of electoral votes. “Thanks to everyone who worked hard for these results,” said the president, in a message posted on the Twitter account of the Democratic Party.
.@JJansaSDS: Če bo ostalo pri tem številu mandav, smo izenačili najboljši rezultat stranke v zgodovini. Bistveno smo tudi povečali število volilnih glasov. Zmagali smo v številnih okrajih, kjer doslej še nikolinismo. V zvezi s tem zahvala vsem, ki so za te rezultate garali. pic.twitter.com/uUZZ42bkh2
— SDS (@strankaSDS) April 24, 2022
The prime minister also warned of the challenges ahead for whoever takes the reins of the country, especially considering the climate of tension on the continent due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Europe is worried about some pro-Russian orientations. In Slovenia, this concern is justified ”said Jansa, who highlighted the danger of the involvement of supporters of the Russian Government in his country. “In Slovenia, people who have Putin’s bloody medals on their chest walk proudly and comment on the elections,” he said. Despite these dangers, the president also gave an optimistic message about the country’s future: “The new government, whatever it may be, faces many challenges, but solid foundations have been laid during this term, and progress can be made on these foundations.” .
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