Anti-immigrant SDS party leads in Slovenia election

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The anti-immigrant SDS party of veteran right-wing leader Janez Jansa is leading in Slovenia’s parliamentary election, partial results showed on Sunday.

The opposition centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party is ahead at more than 25 percent with more than three-quarters of votes counted, the State Election Commission said.

The anti-establishment LMS party of comedian-turned-politician Marjan Sarec has 12.7 percent, followed by the centre-left Social Democrats with 9.9 percent, and the SMC party of outgoing Prime Minister Miro Cerar at 9.5 percent.

If confirmed in official results, the results mean a coalition government likely will have to be formed. 

“We will probably have to wait for some time [after the election]… before serious talks on a new government will be possible,” Jansa – a two-time prime minister – told reporters after voting.

Sarec told reporters after the partial results were released he expected to get an opportunity to form a government as most parties had said before the vote they were likely to join an SDS-led government.


Jansa was forced to resign five years ago after a corruption scandal but has made a comeback, thanks in part to his strong rhetoric on immigration.

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The right-wing leader, who formed a close partnership with populist Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, has vowed to defend the “Schengen border of Europe”.

Slovenia was a key transit route for migrants and refugees trying to reach northern European states during the European refugee crisis of 2015.

Most were fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia.

No single party is expected to pick up a majority in Sunday’s election and other parties have promised not to work with Jansa if there is no outright winner.

Balkan analyst, Klisman Murati, told Al Jazeera that rhetoric on immigration was being used to distract from economic issues.

“It’s an easy stance to take if you tell the people immigration is the main issue and that’s why your country is not prospering,” he said.

“It’s worked to an extent in the US, it’s worked as a start-up movement in France with Marine Le Pen, It’s taken popularity in other EU countries.”

Far-right and anti-immigration parties have made massive gains across Europe in recent years.

Anti-immigration parties have won elections in Italy, Poland, and Hungary, and are part of a coalition government in Austria.

Prime Minister Miro Cerar resigned in March after the Supreme Court ruled to annul a September 2017 referendum vote in support of a one billion euro ($1.17bn) railway project.

Slovenia, once part of the former Yugoslavia, joined the EU in 2004. It has used the euro as its official currency since 2007.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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