Slovenia also shifting to the right?

The SDS party led by conservative opposition leader and ex-prime minister Janez Janša has won Slovenia's parliamentary elections with 25 percent of the vote. Janša wants to follow Hungary's example and seal the country off for migrants. Commentators discuss whether Janša will be able to emulate Orbán and turn Slovenia into another European state under a right-wing populist government.

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Público (PT) /

A formula that always works

Pùblico is worried by this latest victory for right-wing populists in Europe:

“A familiar scenario is being repeated in Slovenia: a young democracy is submitting to a populist who has no qualms about fuelling people's basic fears with clichés. ... From outside the 'crisis of democracy' in Slovenia is difficult to understand: the economy is predicted to grow by 5.1 percent in 2018 and the fear of migrants runs completely counter to the reality of the situation in a small nation that took in only 200 people in 2015 and 2016. ... This shows that repeating the formula of Trump, Orbán and Kaczyński is all it takes to rise to power. ... There is good reason to be worried about the future: this formula works and is being applied elsewhere too.”

Keskisuomalainen (FI) /

Janša is not Orbán

Although the right-wing populist Janša achieved an impressive result he is still nowhere near Orbán's level of popularity, Keskisuomalainen concludes:

“Janša's prospects of a third term in office are not good because the majority of seats in parliament went to parties that have rejected the idea of working with Janša's SDS. ... The coalition talks are likely to be difficult. As a veteran of the European right-wing populists, Janša's success is another victory in the triumphal march of the anti-immigration conservatives of the eastern EU member states. Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán prominently backed Janša's campaign. Fortunately for the EU, however, Janša didn't win anywhere near as many votes as Orbán did in April.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Right-wing populists' advance has failed

According to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung Janša's attack on the establishment failed for the following reasons:

“One reason is that he himself belongs to it. The 59-year-old was twice prime minister before he was sent to prison owing to irregularities in arms deals. His attempts to cast himself as a moral crusader and launch a clean-up operation aren't very convincing. Janša is copying the populism of Viktor Orbán, who actively supported his Eastern European alliance policy: the number one topic was, of course, migration. But Janša didn't come across as very plausible. ... And another focus of his campaign didn't really work out: the border row with Croatia. ... Every Slovenian knows that this border conflict between two EU member states won't escalate and that the Croats are seeking a peaceful solution within the EU framework.”

hvg (HU) /

Janša too compromised

Despite its victory ex-prime minister Janez Janša's SDS won't be able to govern the country, hvg predicts:

“Viktor Orbán endorsed the victor Janša and the right-wing Slovenian party also copied his shrill, xenophobic campaign tactics. But his ally in Ljubljana was already in government for eight years. And because of Janša's scandals from that period only the NSi party says it is willing to form a coalition with him - as [the Austrian daily] Der Standard writes (Janša was even in prison for a time). So the victory won't be enough to govern.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Two difficult alternatives

There are two potential scenarios after the elections, Jutarnji list explains:

“If Janez Janša comes to power, Slovenia will ally itself with Hungary and no doubt Poland. And he'll no doubt also get along well with the new populist, xenophobic government in Italy. Austria's far-right Freedom Party will be welcome guests in Ljubljana. ... If the left forms the government, Marjan Šarec will have to say what he really wants. In his last statements he denounced xenophobia but his negative comments about the current establishment are worrying. In addition he lacks the necessary experience for the post of prime minister, which could be a problem.”

Večer (SI) /

New elections also a possibility

In view of the prospect of a complicated government building process, Večer doesn't rule out the possibility of new elections:

“Slovenia is facing a time of political instability. ... The new government will have to tackle the arbitration agreement with Croatia, the sale of Slovenia's biggest bank NLB, strikes in the public sector, as well as health and pension reforms. ... Nothing can be ruled out, not not even that we may soon have to go to the polls again. As a result no one could really celebrate yesterday, even if some were of the opinion that the result could have been even worse. Perhaps the most positive thing about all this is that we're still living in times of economic growth. But for how long?”

La Stampa (IT) /

Another victory for isolationist politics

In Slovenia too, a political approach that is gaining traction everywhere has won out, laments La Stampa:

“It was foreseeable that a right-wing party that up to now was in the opposition would win and would put its faith in a candidate who is copying the Hungarian Viktor Orbán and Donald Trump to get back into the limelight. Janša promises a tough anti-migration policy, boosted security and patriotism - in other words 'Slovenia first'. But he hasn't got enough votes to govern alone. That means Slovenia is facing a turbulent government formation phase. With 13 percent of the vote the anti-system party [LMS] led by former comedian and current mayor of Kamnik Marjan Šarec - who has a score to settle with the local caste - came second. LMS could be the party that tips the scales.”