The former head of the conservative government, Janez Jansa, is in the lead following Sunday’s elections in Slovenia; however, he could find it hard to cobble together a new coalition government.
“We have taken a first step towards a strong and responsible Slovenia in Europe,” said 59-year-old Jansa in a tweet after the election. The former dissident, who has been omnipresent on the Slovene political scene since its independence of the former Yugoslav Republic in 1991, sees his Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) credited with 25% of the votes – after counting more than 99% votes – following a campaign based on the specter of a migratory “invasion”, borrowing from the xenophobic vocabulary of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban.
In sharp decline, the Party of the modern center (SMC, center-left) of outgoing Prime Minister Miro Cerar garnered only 9.7 percent of the vote. The outgoing coalition, however, is equal to the SDS if the votes of the Social Democrats (10%) and the party of retirees Desus (4.9%) are taken into account.
In this context, the independent Marjan Sarec, who came second with 12.6 percent, could play a crucial role, according to analysts. “To the extent that we are an unrepresented party in Parliament, it is a very important success,” said the former actor and mayor of a small provincial town.
Mr Sarec, 40, who quotes French President Emmanuel Macron as an inspiration, reiterated that he did not intend to form an alliance with Mr. Jansa. “We said it so often that we would not be credible if we did it,” he said. On the other hand, he felt that it he could “have the opportunity to form a government,” if Mr Jansa, failed to muster a majority.
Prime Minister from 2004 to 2008 and from 2012 to 2013, Mr Jansa was forced to shorten his second term because of a corruption conviction that resulted in months of imprisonment in 2014. The Conservative leader, who had obtained the annulment of the judgment the same year, centred his campaign on the issue of migration in this small country located on the old “Balkan route.”
Nearly 500,000 migrants passed through Slovenia in 2015 and 2016 before continuing on to Western Europe, a wave that then pushed Cerar’s government to erect a 200-kilometer fence at the Croatian border. Only a thousand refugees and asylum seekers live in the country today, according to official figures.