Exit polls show that the opposition won the Slovenian elections Business news

By ALI ZERDIN, Associated Press

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) – Exit polls in Slovenia’s parliamentary elections on Sunday showed that the opposition Liberal Party won by a landslide, inflicting a heavy defeat on populist Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who has been accused of pushing a small EU country into right. in the office.

Polls conducted by Mediana polls and published by TV Slovenia and commercial Pop TV showed that the opposition Free Movement received 35.8% support compared to the ruling conservative Slovenian Democratic Party with 22.5%. percentage support.

Nova Slovenija lagged behind the first two candidates with 6.8%, followed by the Social Democrats with 6.6% and the Left with 4.4%. Surveys have proven reliable in the past.

If confirmed in the official calculation, the result means that the Free Movement, a newcomer to the election, is likely to form the next government in a coalition with smaller center-left groups. The party leader addressed the supporters via a video message from his home because he has COVID-19.

Political cartoons about world leaders

Political cartoons

“People are dancing tonight,” Robert Golob told a crowd of fans at the party’s headquarters. “Tomorrow is a new day and serious work is ahead of us.”

Janša posted a message to the fans on Twitter, in which he said only “thank you for your vote”.

It remains unclear which, if any, other smaller groups will be able to exceed the 4% threshold and what the final distribution of seats will be.

Janša, a veteran politician, became prime minister more than two years ago after the previous liberal prime minister resigned. As an admirer of former US President Donald Trump, Jansa has pushed the country against right-wing populism since taking power at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the great interest in Sunday’s elections, the turnout was higher than usual – by mid-afternoon, almost 50% of the 1.7 million Slovenian voters voted, which is about 15% more than in the previous elections in 2018.

Golob, a former U.S.-educated businessman, proved to be a leader soon after entering the political scene. The free movement advocated a transition to green energy and sustainable development instead of Janša’s nationally focused narrative.

Liberals described Sunday’s election as a referendum on Slovenia’s future. They argued that Janša, if re-elected, would push the traditionally moderate nation beyond the EU’s “fundamental” democratic values ​​and other populist regimes.

Janša’s SDS won the most votes in the elections four years ago, but initially could not find partners for the coalition government. He took it over after center-left and left-wing lawmakers switched sides after the resignation of Liberal Prime Minister Marjan Sarc in 2020.

Janša in power has faced accusations that he is sliding towards authoritarian rule in the style of his ally, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. He was under scrutiny by the EU at reports of pressuring opponents and the public media and placing loyalists in key positions to oversee state institutions.

Democratic Ombudsman Freedom House recently said that “although political rights and civil liberties are generally respected (in Slovenia), the current right-wing government continues to try to undermine the rule of law and democratic institutions, including the media and the judiciary.”

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