Slovenia’s president to set general election for April 24

January 20, 2022 GMT

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — Slovenia is set to hold a parliamentary election on April 24, the president said Thursday.

The vote will test the popularity of right-wing Prime Minister Janez Jansa amid political divisions in the small European Union nation.

President Borut Pahor said he will formally schedule the vote in early February. The April 24 choice is the earliest possible date envisaged by electoral law.

The election will pit Jansa’s Slovenian Democratic Party and its allies against a coalition of left-leaning groups that have promised to join forces against the populist leader with close ties to Hungary’s hard-line Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

A veteran politician, Jansa took over the government helm in early March 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic started.

Critics at home have accused Jansa of curbing democratic freedoms and fostering divisive policies in the traditionally moderate nation of about 2 million people.

Jansa, a fierce anti-immigration politician, also has faced scrutiny within the EU over complaints of pressure on the media in Slovenia.

Recent surveys in Slovenia have shown that Jansa’s SDS remains the most popular party, but not strong enough to rule on its own.