Slovenia’s New “Freedom Movement” Party Focuses on Green Transition, Open Society

By , 20 Mar 2022, 10:08 AM Politics

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STA, 19 March 2022 - The Freedom Movement (Gibanje Svoboda), a newly formed party that ranks at or near the top of most polls a month before the election, confirmed its list of candidates an election platform on Saturday centred on the green transition, modern welfare state, and a free and open society governed by the rule of law.

"The party is offering a new social compact ... that will not leave anyone behind and will stand the test of time," party president Robert Golob said.

The green transition chapter of the programme says that Slovenia must abandon fossil fuels and significantly expand renewables while being mindful of keeping energy prices low. This should be coupled with the promotion of circular economy.

When it comes to the economy, the party plans to make Slovenia more attractive for investors in green and digital companies, promote investments in future technologies, and help companies reduce their carbon footprint.

In healthcare, an area that features prominently in almost all parties' programmes, the plan is to reduce wait times with emergency spending, digitise health services, and keep prices in check.

There are several ideas for reform of the political system, most notably a stronger role for the president of the republic, who would appoint judges, and the introduction of a preference vote at the general election.

Foreign policy plans involve a stronger role for Slovenia in the Alpine, Adriatic, Danube and Mediterranean regions, modernisation of the armed forces, and removal of the fence on the border with Croatia.

The party also plans to tackle fiscal policy by reforming corporate income tax, strengthening the Slovenian capital market, activate dormant capital, and promote employee ownership of companies.

Stronger family policy involves a universal child allowance, state guarantees for youths buying their first homes, accelerated construction of housing, and the promotion of housing cooperatives.

There is also mention of decent pensions and the option of pensioners returning to work after they retire, and reform of media law and modernisation of the cultural sector.

Golob juxtaposed the party's platform with the policies of the current government, which he said had pursued "policies that hides fear of your own people with the words of contempt," which prompted people to rebel.

The Freedom Movement and its poll ratings have for weeks been the subject of criticism from the right, where pundits wondered how a party without a programme could possibly be so popular.

Golob dismissed this saying that the party was now offering more than a programme, it was offering a vision of what the country should look like in 2030, as well as specific projects that are actionable immediately.

This two-tiered approach shows that the team which wrote the programme would take ownership of its implementation. "We are here to improve things, not because of our own benefits," he said.

The candidate list contains senior members of the party including Golob, plus current MP Janja Sluga and Jurij Lep, and former centre-left MPs Mirjam Bon Klajnšček, Tamara Vonta and Borut Sajovic, who is currently the mayor of Tržič.

Other prominent names include nuclear energy expert Miroslav Gregorič, charity worker Tereza Novak, former chancellor of the University of Ljubljana Igor Papič, former Luka Koper CEO Dimitrij Zadel, former boxing champion Dejan Zavec and medical doctor Danijel Bešič Loredan.

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