Ljubljana: A newly formed protest party in Slovenia beat Janez Jansa, a nationalist prime minister who has challenged the European Union’s democratic standards, by an unexpectedly wide margin in general elections.
Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, and as French voters gave President Emmanuel Macron a new term, former executive Robert Golob and his Freedom Movement are positioned to create a new left-leaning government. He aims to reverse policies introduced by Jansa he says undermine the rule of law.
Freedom Movement won about 34.5 per cent of the vote, versus 23.5 per cent for Jansa’s Slovenian Democratic Party, according to official results with almost 99.7 per cent of ballots counted on Monday.
“People really want change,” Golob said, declaring victory on Sunday from home where he was isolating after testing positive for COVID. “Today people are dancing, but tomorrow a new day begins. Tomorrow we’ll start working hard.”
The outcome provides validation to Slovenians who mounted almost two years of weekly protests against Jansa. It also further isolates EU rebel Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary and a close ally of the Slovenian leader.
“Jansa’s defeat shows that Slovenians had enough of his policies and didn’t like how he was leading the country in the direction of Hungary,” said Andraz Zorko, a political analyst. “It’s positive for the EU.”
Golob, a 55-year-old former chief executive, vowed to take on Jansa after he was ousted during the three-time premier’s administration as the head of of state-owned power company GEN-I.
He said coalition talks will start in coming days, and he expects to form a government with one or both of two smaller parties, the Social Democrats and the Left.