It is called the “Little Orban” because he is openly inspired by the strong man of Budapest Viktor Orban, or even the “Marshal Twitto”, because he is able to tweet up to 200 times a day. The Slovenian Janez Janša, ultra-conservative Prime Minister, with xenophobic accents, and who went to prison for corruption – before being “cleared” – has been the great protagonist of Slovenian political life for twenty years. And, this Sunday, April 24, it will once again be on the front of the stage.
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While his fellow citizens are called to the polls to choose the 90 members of the Ljubljana Parliament, Janez Janša is seeking a fourth term, after guiding the Slovenian government from 2004 to 2008, from 2012 to 2013, then again since 2020. Faced with this A political veteran who began his career in the youth of the Yugoslav Communist Party and who has been responsible for a veritable authoritarian drift in recent years, former businessman Robert Golob is standing as a candidate for the first time. He will have the task of leading the camp of liberals and progressives against the “jansism”.
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“This time, Janez Janša risks losing. He doesn’t have many allies left to form a coalition with after the vote,” commented Milan Nič, analyst at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). On the eve of the election, the two candidates remain neck and neck. The Democratic Party (SDS), which the Prime Minister has led for three decades, is credited with 25% of the vote, against 26% attributed to the Freedom Movement (GS) of Robert Golob. The support of the other parties will be decisive in achieving a majority in Parliament.
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But whatever the outcome of Sunday’s vote, Janez Janša will have left a heavy legacy in Slovenia. Breaking with Ljubljana’s traditionally balanced foreign policy, the Prime Minister went so far as to congratulate Donald Trump on his “re-election” in January 2021. More importantly, “since his return to power in 2020, Janša has become very close to Viktor Orban”, notes Milan Nic. According to him, “Viktor Orban used Slovenia to build around the Visegrád group and its allies an alternative European space to Germany and France”.
The intellectuals at the head of cultural institutions have been ousted and the media put under control. The rapprochement with Hungary had very concrete consequences in the small former Yugoslav republic. “In autumn 2020, the public company Telekom Slovenije sold the Planet TV television to a Hungarian company, although the Dutch group United Group presented a higher purchase offer, which was declined”, says Marko Milosavljević, professor of journalism at the University of Ljubljana.
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Hungarian companies close to Viktor Orban are also among the owners of Nova24TV, a Slovenian media group in which one of the shareholders is Janez Janša himself. Inspired by the “Hungarian model”, the Slovenian prime minister has launched his own crusade against the press. The government cut part of the funding to the public agency STA in the hope of limiting its independence. And “the SDS now has full control over public television”, regrets Marko Milosavljević, who concludes: “Even if Janša goes to the opposition, the consequences of his action on the media panorama and on democracy in Slovenia will be heavy. »