Jansa’s challenger leads polls as campaign enters final week

Golob’s Freedom Movement, a small and largely dormant green party before the former energy executive took over it in January and renamed it, is currently polling between 1and 5% ahead of Janša’s Democrats (SDS),  the most recent polls show. [EPA-EFE/Marcin Obara]

Robert Golob, a former energy executive who did not have a party until January, has overtaken Prime Minister Janez Janša in the polls with just a week to go before election day.

Golob’s Freedom Movement, a small and largely dormant green party before the former energy executive took over it in January and renamed it, is currently polling between 1and 5% ahead of Janša’s Democrats (SDS),  the most recent polls show.

Should the trend persist, it is on track to achieving what two newly formed parties did in 2011 and 2014, going from zero just months before polling day to election victory.

But Slovenia’s mixed-proportional system requires broad coalitions and polls suggest it is by no means certain which parties will make the 4% threshold to enter parliament, which will be instrumental in centre-left or centre-right coalition building.

The centre-right New Slovenia (NSi) and Connecting Slovenia, and the centre-left Social Democrats (SD) and Left, look well placed to make it, but the liberal LMŠ and SAB, seen as natural allies of Golob, are close to the edge.

To add to the uncertainty, Golob announced Sunday evening he had tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he participated in a debate from his home via video call Sunday. It is now unclear how future TV debates will be held.

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