Slovenian Prime minister Janez Jansa wants to overcome criticisms about his record on democracy, and media freedoms and win a fourth term in a parliamentary vote in the small Alpine state.
The populist, aged 63 years old, has campaigned on the promises to improve the economy as well as provide energy security in the former Yugoslav Republic of approximately 2 million people. It is now a member both of NATO and the European Union.
Jansa is an admirer and ally of Viktor Orban, the nationalist Hungarian Prime Minister, and has clashed over media freedoms with Brussels. His opponents accuse him, however, of undermining democratic standards.
Jansa denied the allegations, but it is possible that there will be a close race between his centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party (the Slovenian Democratic Party) and the environmentalist Freedom Movement (the Freedom Movement), which seeks more investment in renewable energy as well as transparency in the state institutions.
Ninamedia’s polling agency published a poll on Friday that put Jansa’s SDS at 24% and the Freedom Movement at 27.7%, respectively.
The winner will need to find coalition partners to form a new federal government. The SDS has ruled out the two left-leaning parties from joining a coalition.
After voting early, President Borut Pahor stated that every vote was important and valuable. “The current situation in Europe and across the globe in the aftermath of the pandemic in Ukraine and the war in Ukraine means that we will face more than the daily problems in the next few years.”
Around 1.7 million eligible voters can vote starting at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT). Polling stations close at 7:45 p.m. and exit polls will be published shortly thereafter.
Jansa was the prime minister of Ukraine from 2004 to 2008. He also served as Prime Minister from 2012 to 2013. And from 2020 to now, he is a strong advocate for EU enlargement.
He was one of the first EU leaders who visited Ukraine to show solidarity with Kyiv following Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2014. He also promised to decrease Slovenia’s dependence on Russian gas imports.
Jansa claims he has managed the economy well and hopes to reap the benefits of measures to reduce the economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes payments to pensioners who are less fortunate.
Robert Golob is the leader of the Freedom Movement. He was a former executive at a state-owned oil company. Jansa is accused of trying to use the war to his political advantage. Although the Freedom Movement supports EU sanctions against Russia for the war in Ukraine, it accuses Jansa. Jansa refutes this charge.