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Slovenian prime minister beaten by newcomer

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ready to collaborate for the common good.

Slovenia's defeated Prime Minister Janez Jansa holds a press conference after the parliamentary elections, April 24, 2022.

Janez Jansa’s government “has carried out repeated attacks on the rule of law and democratic institutions”, according to the American NGO Freedom House.

Photo: Reuters/BORUT ZIVULOVIC

Bitter, however, he issued a warning to his opponent: It is easy to afford posters, to have the support of the media and the so-called civil society, but none of this will help you in the difficult task ahead..

The Slovenes rushed to the polls throughout the day to choose their deputies, during this one-round ballot, against the backdrop of a sling against the action of the government, disputed for months in the street.

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These are the most important elections since independence in 1991 of this nation of two million inhabitants from the former Yugoslavia and entered the European Union in 2004, assured Jansa Jenull, one of the leaders of the protest movement.

The population was there: the turnout was close to 70%, a peak since 2000 and well above that of 2018 (52%), according to the Electoral Commission.

I don’t think the situation is that bad, but I have the feeling that democracy has been under attack for two yearscommented after voting a retiree, Marija, who did not want to give her last name.

The government engaged in repeated attacks on the rule of law and democratic institutionsnotes the influential American NGO Freedom House in its annual report published this week, citing attacks against justice and the media.

A man sits under an anti-government sign in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana.

Slovenes have taken part in demonstrations every Friday for a year and a half to challenge the government of Janez Jansa.

Photo: Reuters/BORUT ZIVULOVIC

Assumed admirer of former US President Donald Trump and ally of Hungarian ultra-conservative leader Viktor Orban, Janez Jansa deprived the national news agency STA for months of public funds, deemed too critical.

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Faced with warnings from the European Commission, he crushed overpaid bureaucratsmultiplying the passes of arms with Brussels and making Slovenia once model a troublemakeraccording to analyst Valdo Miheljak.

It was a vote against Jansa. Against Slovenia taking the path of Hungary, against the establishment of an illiberal democracy, against a government taking control of public television and the judiciaryreacted the political expert Miha Kovac, questioned by theFrance Media Agency.

For the first time in 20 years, civil society and young voters have mobilizedhe added, sketching a new trend with which to reckon.

After these two chaotic years, Richard Golob, former boss of a large electricity company specializing in solar energy, has promised to reconnect with the normality.

But, warns Mr. Kovac, the challenge is immense for this party which did not exist three months ago and now has more than 40 deputiesout of the 90 seats in Parliament. It has no infrastructure, no know-how, no connoisseurs of parliamentary mysterieshe warns.

It will therefore be in his interest to rely on the experience of the Social Democrats, their potential future coalition partner having obtained 6.8% of the vote, on the eve of the start of discussions for the formation of a government.

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