Posted on May 23, 2018

Anti-Immigrant Stance Helps Slovenia’s SDS Party to Poll Lead

Marja Novak, Reuters, May 21, 2018

An anti-immigrant party looks set to win Slovenian elections on June 3, two years after nearly half a million migrants crossed the country on their way to Western Europe, although a lack of potential coalition partners may keep it out of government.

The Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), one of whose rallies was addressed by Hungary’s nationalist prime minister Viktor Orban this month, is leading in opinion polls after pledging to reject EU migrant quotas and boost spending on security.

A revival in the number of people passing west through the former Yugoslav republic to other European Union countries — 1,226 in January to April, compared with 322 in the same period last year — has pushed migration up the electoral agenda.


The SDS is led by Janez Jansa, who served twice as Slovenia’s prime minister before stepping down in 2013 to face corruption allegations. He denies any wrongdoing.

In a televised pre-election debate, SDS lawmaker Branko Grims emphasized the party’s hardline stance on immigration, saying: “No migrants means a secure Slovenia.”

If the party wins, he said, it will seek to abolish the EU migrant quotas under which Slovenia has committed to take 567 asylum seekers. It will also divert money currently paid to non-governmental organizations to the security forces.

An opinion poll on Sunday gave the SDS 14.9 percent of the vote, suggesting it will emerge as the largest party in Slovenia’s fractured parliament, ahead of centre-left newcomer the List of Marjan Sarec (LMS) on 9.7 percent.


But even if the SDS wins the election, other parties’ expressed unwillingness to work with it may mean it cannot form a government.


While Slovenia’s economy is forecast to grow by a healthy 5.1 percent this year, boosted by exports and investments, waiting lists for medical examinations and operations are long and the system is short of money and staff.

Recently the last three consultants quit Slovenia’s only child surgical cardiology department, at the main UKC hospital, saying a lack of doctors meant they could no longer work there.

The hospital management is now hoping to keep services going using visiting doctors from Croatia and the Czech Republic.

“I will vote for the SDS because we need change,” said 43-year-old electrician Andrej, {snip}. “The health system is deteriorating, young people are leaving the country and there is a lot of corruption.”