Slovenian elections highlight growing nationalist trend in Europe

  • Mihai Turcanu
  • 5.6.2018 15:33

The anti-immigration Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) led by former Prime Minister Janez Sansa has claimed victory at the Slovenian parliamentary elections held on 3 June. In spite of winning 25% of the votes, or 25 out of the 90 parliamentary seats, the SDS might not be able to form a government, as a number of other parties which entered the parliament signalled they were prepared to join efforts in order to block a nationalist government.

The only parliamentary factions which stated they would support a Sansa government are that of the nationalist Slovenian National Party, and of the conservative New Slovenia Party, but together with SDS, the three would have only 36 parliamentary seats. On the other hand, Marjan Šarec, leader of the List of Marjan Šarec Party which came in second win 13 seats, stated he is expecting to be given a chance to form a wide centre-left cabinet coalition with those parties which rejected the possibility to work with SDS.

The SDS has campaigned on the nationalist "Slovenians first!" platform, rejecting any legal EU mechanisms to manage the flow of refugees by helping countries like Greece and Italy, which currently host hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers under the Dublin III Regulation and the 1951 Geneva refugee convention. After Austria, Hungary, and Italy, Slovenia could become the latest EU country with nationalists in government, illustrating the present rise of divisive populism and nationalism which undermines European cooperation and integration, which will further complicate an agreement on EU migration policy. At the same time, the rise of nationalism in Slovenia, the most progressive of all former Yugoslav republics, is a bad example for the Western Balkan nations hoping that integration with Europe would bridge the deep divisions still existing between them. 

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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