Foreign media analyse PM Janša’s attitude to US elections

Ljubljana – A number of major foreign media have reported on Prime Minister Janez Janša’s Twitter reactions to the US elections. They speak of a premature declaration of Donald Trump as the winner, the sharing of conspiracy theories about election fraud, and Janša not having congratulated Joe Biden.

Germany’s Spiegel described Janša on Monday in an article headlined Slovenia’s Donald as somebody in the EU who is not capable of coming to terms with Trump’s defeat.

Taking to Twitter is nothing new for EU leaders, “what however is new is the zeal with which Janša is sharing his views of things and his admiration of Trump with the world”, Spiegel wrote, adding that Janša was also inciting hatred against mainstream media, using the #MSM hashtag and sharing conspiracy theories.

A Monday article by Politico, headlined Even as a Loser, Trump Stirs Unrest in Europe and highlighting Estonia and Slovenia, says Janša continues to promote pro-Trump conspiracy theories.

“Slovenian President Borut Pahor and other officials have gone into full-fledged damage-control mode after Janša, an anti-migration populist, prematurely declared Trump the winner, and then followed up by criticizing the US media for calling the race for Joe Biden before the Trump campaign’s legal disputes could be heard in the courts,” Politico wrote.

Politico added Janez Lenarčič, EU commissioner for crisis management, who is Slovenian, criticized Janša for harming relations.

“People holding the highest executive offices should be aware of the fact that what they say in public, and it includes social network platforms like Twitter, resonates, and that prudence should be the rule because of that…I’m afraid that some of those tweets that we saw did not contribute to the positive image of Slovenia in Brussels or Washington,” Politico quotes Lenarčič as saying.

The BBC on Monday wrote of Janša’s premature announcement of the election outcome and his repeating of election fraud claims, as it listed him among world leaders who have not yet congratulated Biden.

“Mr Janša, from the far-right anti-immigration Slovenian Democratic Party, is an ally of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has also expressed support for Mr Trump in the past,” the BBC wrote, adding that Orban and Slovenian President Pahor have congratulated Biden.

It added that Janša “appeared more conciliatory on Saturday, describing the US as Slovenia’s strategic partner and said that friendly relations would remain whoever was president”.

A similar rendition of events has been given by the Swiss paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), whose article focused on leaders who have not congratulated Biden, while Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW) wrote on Monday that populist governments in Eastern Europe, in particular in Poland and Hungary, have lost their political godfather with Trump’s defeat.

DW wrote Trump’s defeat caught Janša, who had called the election prematurely, unprepared and that he was “nonetheless staying his course and invoking claims of ‘delays and fact denying’ so that even his own defence minister has now admonished him over a stance ‘that does not benefit Slovenia’s interests'”.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), writing about Janša in Tuesday’s edition under the headline Trump’s Slovenian Friend, notes Janša’s early congratulations to the Republican Party and his criticism of the vote counting and of the central media in the US.

Foreign Minister Anže Logar has kept silent while criticism has come from the defence minister and the parliamentary speaker, FAZ adds, while also mentioning the PM’s conciliatory tweet.