Zagreb, Croatia, Apr 24 (EFE).- The opposition Freedom Movement (GS), headed by engineer Roberto Golob and with a liberal and eco-friendly orientation, is the big winner in the legislative elections held Sunday in Slovenia garnering a plurality of 35.8 percent of the votes, according to exit polls.
Following the GS was the conservative Slovenian Democratic party (SDS), with Rights Minister Janez Jansa at the helm, who was trying to win a fourth mandate as prime minister but received only an estimated 22.5 percent of the votes.
Recent voter surveys had shown the two rival parties to be neck and neck and thus the apparent good results shown by the GS, much higher than expected, imply a major reshuffling of the political forces within the Slovenian Parliament.
Analysts say that concerns among Slovenian voters over the rule of law have given the opposition a significant advantage in the small East European nation of some two million. The opposition says that Jansa has tried to undermine press freedom and democratic institutions much like neighboring Hungary’s leader, Viktor Orban, a Jansa ally.
According to these results, broadcast by TVSlo public television and the private POP TV network at the close of the polls, Golob’s party also will have more potential coalition partners, with which he will seek to form a center-left government.
The Social Democrats (SD) received about 6.6 percent of the votes and Levica, a leftist party, 4.4 percent, while the conservative NSi, a potential ally of Jansa’s SDS, garnered 6.8 percent of the votes.
This division of the votes will result in 54 parliamentary deputies for the center-left and 34 for the conservatives in the 90-seat parliament, according to calculations by the STA agency.
The two additional seats will go to representatives of the country’s Hungarian and Italian minorities.
Voter participation was much higher than in past legislative elections, with 57 percent of registered electors having cast their ballots by 4 pm on Sunday, nicely above the slightly less than 53 percent who did so (as of the polls’ closing) in 2018.
Calculations are that overall voter participation this year was about 70 percent in Slovenia’s legislative elections.