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Slovenia to hold April 24 parliamentary vote amid divisions

February 9, 2022 GMT

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — Slovenia’s president on Wednesday formally scheduled a parliamentary election for April 24.

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 has chosen earliest possible date envisaged by electoral law. He urged a non-divisive tone in the campaign and debates ahead of the vote.

“Political, ideological and other differences ... should divide us only as much as we can then recover as a community,” he said, according to the STA news agency.

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 who has close ties to Hungary’s hard-line Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

A new player, businessman Robert Golob, has emerged as a serious opponent to Jansa after he took over leadership of a green party.

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Jansa came to power in 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 27-nation EU over complaints of pressure on the media in Slovenia.

The prime minister on Wednesday said he has tested positive for the new coronavirus with mild symptoms.