Janša voted out: change of government in Slovenia

With a historically high turnout, Slovenians voted on Sunday for the green-liberal party Gibanje Svoboda (the Freedom Movement). Newcomer and energy manager Robert Golob is set to replace the veteran but controversial national-populist Prime Minister Janez Janša. Europe's press rejoices, but urges vigilance.

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Népszava (HU) /

The citizens were fed up

The war in Ukraine was not the factor that decided this election, Népszava points out:

“In the run-up to the vote, the Slovenian PM actively campaigned for the protection of Ukraine and against Putin. But these efforts apparently failed. This election result cannot be put down to foreign policy or the war. Slovenians were already fed up with Janez Janša's power games - which the Hungarian government also clearly helped him with. Pro-government entrepreneurs from Hungary have acquired shares in the Slovenian media industry, tourism and other sectors.”

Večer (SI) /

Elections just the first step

The people must also keep an eye on the new government, Večer warns:

“The era during which the 15th Slovenian government takes up its work will be unforgiving. New crises, most recently the war in Ukraine, are inevitable. During the Covid crisis it became clear how important trust, credibility and respect for the citizens are. The politicians' reputation is at rock bottom, and not just since yesterday. ... Elections are only the first step. Pressure from civil society on the government must not let up. It is both important and necessary, so that the political class, after a period of interrupted dialogue, will be forced to come up with real solutions as to how we all - not just a few - can live better in this country and remain a pro-European, open and democratic society.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Politics as retaliation

The new prime minister with a hippie image had a bone to pick with Janša, the Tagesspiegel reminds readers:

“Golob, who combines the characteristics of a hippie, yuppie and green activist, unexpectedly triumphed over the right-wing populist. That in itself is a small revolution. But the desire for revenge also played a role. The 55-year-old with the shaggy mane was a successful energy and solar power manager. For the better part of the past 15 years he headed the state-owned electricity company Gen-I. But a few months ago Janša prevented the renewal of his contract. Golob then stepped up to lead the hitherto insignificant Green Party and turned it into a freedom movement.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

War on populism

Corriere della Sera says the Slovenians made the right call:

“The charming and media-savvy winner is not a blank slate. ... He is close to the mayor of Ljubljana, Zoran Janković (who sympathises with Putin). ... However, he does stand for a green, progressive and pro-European agenda. Moreover, in these times of war Slovenia - like all Eastern Europe - has remembered the values of law, sovereignty and the defence of the central stance of people against all violence. It also recognised that together with other Slavic countries it can launch a political initiative that is not based solely on rejection. Even more so than in France, Slovenia declared war on populism on Sunday.”