Environmentalists Defeated One of Trump’s Biggest Fans in Europe

Slovenia’s Freedom Movement won national elections by a landslide, taking over from populist Janez Janša.
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A man stands before images of some of Janez Janša's tweets at an anti-government exhibition in Ljubljana in 2020. Photo: Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A newly-formed alliance of liberals and environmentalists has won Slovenia’s general election in a shock landslide victory, defeating populist Prime Minister Janez Janša.

Janša is an ally of Hungary’s autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and was vocal in his support of President Donald Trump – even going as far as claiming Trump had won the 2020 election.

The 63-year-old, who has served three non-consecutive terms as Prime Minister in the central European country, has been accused of authoritarian leadership in Slovenia via his crackdown on press freedom, and had been campaigning to bring “stability” with his re-election. 

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But on Sunday his Slovenian Democratic Party lost to the country’s Freedom Movement, led by political newcomer and former energy company executive Robert Golob, 55. They took 34.5 per cent of the vote, compared to Janša’s 24 per cent. Turnout for the election was at 68 per cent –  much higher than the country’s average.

Janez Janša and his wife Urska pose as they cast their ballots on Sunday. Photo: JURE MAKOVEC/AFP via Getty Images

Janez Janša and his wife Urska pose as they cast their ballots on Sunday. Photo: JURE MAKOVEC/AFP via Getty Images

Meanwhile in France, Emmanuel Macron became the first incumbent to be re-elected as French president in 20 years. He beat far right challenger Marine Le Pen in a runoff with 58.5% of the vote-share, compared to her 41.5%. 

In order to form a government, Slovenia’s Social Democrats and Left parties are expected to join the Freedom Movement in a governing alliance. 

In March, Golob said: “The party is offering a new social compact … that will not leave anyone behind and will stand the test of time.”

Robert Golob speaks via video-link following his election win. Photo: Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Robert Golob speaks via video-link following his election win. Photo: Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The party’s green transition plan promises to expand on renewable energy and abandon fossil fuels, as well as making the country more attractive for green investors. It also plans to grow Slovenia’s role across Europe and remove its anti-migrant fence on the Croatian border. 

In the meantime, the European People’s Party, of which Janša is a member, has tried to question the legitimacy of the election citing “possible Russian interference.” Janša supported Trump when he made similar claims after losing the US election to President Joe Biden. 

Having contracted COVID-19, Golob celebrated the win from home and livestreamed his speech as he isolated. "People want changes and have expressed their confidence in us as the only ones who can bring those changes,” he said.