Anti-migrant party set to win Slovenia election as vote count underway

Anti-migrant party set to win Slovenia election as vote count underway
The rise of right-wing governments continues across Europe as the opposition anti-migrant Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) is leading at Sunday’s general election in Slovenia, with the vote count still underway.

The SDS was ahead of the pack with 26.3 percent after some 25 percent of votes had been counted, the State Election Commission said. They were followed by Lista Marjana Sarca (LMS), which was running in the election for the first time, with 12.2 percent.
A total of 25 parties contested the election in the Balkan republic, with nine of them expected to make it to parliament, according to exit polls.

Before the vote, most of the Slovenian political forces said that they won’t be joining a coalition with the SDS if the rightist party claims a win in the vote. But LMS leader, former actor and mayor of Kamnik, Marjan Sare, has already expressed his party’s readiness to form a government with the Slovenia Democratic Party.

“We will probably have to wait for some time... before serious talks on a new government will be possible,” Janez Jansa, SDS’s leader, told reporters after casting his ballot. “We believe that today a first step will be made towards Slovenia becoming a country that will put the well-being and security of Slovenians first.”

Jansa had served two terms as Slovenian Prime Minister in 2004-2008 and 2011-2012, but had to resign over corruption accusations, which he vigorously denies. The 59-year-old is an opponent of the EU’s migrant quotas, much like Hungarian leader, Viktor Orban, who actively supported SDS during the campaign.

The Democrats argue that the money should be spent on boosting security measures instead of supporting asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East. The European Union’s quotas mean that Slovenia, with a population of just over two million people, to take in 567 migrants.

READ MORE: Guide to the right: Where and how the right wing is rising in Europe

Crucially, the Adriatic Sea nation was part of the so-called Balkan Route, which was used by a large part of over a million refugees to cross into Western Europe in 2015 and 2016.

The migrant crisis has given rise to anti-migrant and Eurosceptic political forces across Europe in recent years. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and its rightist coalition ally Lega Nord have formed a government in Italy earlier this week.

In Hungary, Orban’s Fidesz Party claimed a sweeping victory in the parliamentary election in April as the PM vowed tougher laws on migration, which, he said, would allow him to protect Christianity in the country.

READ MORE: Italy’s Euroskeptic coalition forms new cabinet after president’s ‘undemocratic’ veto

Austria’s youngest-ever Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, 31, was also propelled to power through promises of stricter border controls and a pushback against “political Islam,” with his Austrian People’s Party (OVP) forming a coalition with right-wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) after the 2017 vote. Significant gains have also recently been made by rightist parties during elections in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and other countries.

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