Slovenian right-wingers try to form government and oust liberals after election gains

Forming a majority government may prove difficult for Janez Janša, however

Jon Stone
Europe Correspondent
Monday 04 June 2018 16:48 BST
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Janez Jansa, leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), speaks to the media and supporters after the general election in Ljubljana
Janez Jansa, leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), speaks to the media and supporters after the general election in Ljubljana

Slovenia could be on course to join the swathe of central and eastern EU members with right-wing anti-immigrant governments after populists made gains in elections.

The country’s president said Janez Jansa, leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party, would be given a chance to form a government after his party topped this weekend’s polls.

Slovenia, the most prosperous of the states formed after the break-up of Yugoslavia, as been most recently governed by a coalition of liberals and social democrats.

Mr Janša, who has served as prime minister twice before, is a close ally of Hungary’s authoritarian PM Viktor Orban. He is the only politician from the right of the political spectrum to have led the country since the end of the First World War.

If the right-wingers successfully form a government they would shift the balance of power on the European Council further to the populist right just as Italy, previously governed by a centre-left prime minister, gains a far-right coalition government.

“I am not obliged to award the mandate to the relative winner of the election, but I will do so because I strongly believe in democracy,” president Borut Pahor told local media.

It may prove difficult for Mr Janša’s party to form a majority in the highly fragmented field of parties, however. Preliminary results show the group came top by winning just 25 per cent of the vote and 25 out of 90 seats in the country’s parliament – with ideologically similar coalition partners thin on the ground in the historically progressive country.

I am not obliged to award the mandate to the relative winner of the election, but I will do so because I strongly believe in democracy

Borut Pahor, president of Slovenia

The far-right Slovenian nationalist party, a potential partner, has just four seats, while the Christian Democrats have seven – with practically all the other parties adhering to different flavours of liberalism or socialism. A pensioners interests party which won five seats participates in the outgoing government.

A broad coalition of liberals and social democrats could hold a majority but would need at least five parties to participate in order to reach a majority.

Right-wing nationalist parties have come to power in Hungary, Poland, Italy and Austria in recent years, representing a new bloc of largely anti-immigrant politics at a European level.

Last week the far-right League party and their allies the anti-establishment Five Star Movement came to power in Italy on a promise to deport irregular migrants

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