Populist leaders in Eastern Europe face a small problem: unpopularity – .

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Populist leaders in Eastern Europe face a small problem: unpopularity – .


Hungary, the self-proclaimed flag bearer of “illiberal democracy” in Europe under Mr Orban, has recorded the world’s highest per capita death rate from Covid-19 after Peru.

Poland and Slovenia fared better, but their ruling right-wing parties, Law and Justice and Mr Jansa’s Slovenian Democratic Party, both faced public anger over their handling of the pandemic. .

The greatest danger to leaders like Mr. Jansa and Mr. Orban, however, are the signs that their bickering opponents are finally pulling themselves together. In Hungary, a range of diverse and previously conflicting opposition parties have united to compete with Mr Orban’s ruling Fidesz party in next year’s elections. If they stick together, according to opinion polls, they could win.

In Slovenia, Jansa rallied a loyal base of around 25% of the electorate but was “even more successful in mobilizing his many opponents,” said Luka Lisjak Gabrijelcic, Slovenian historian and disillusioned former supporter. “His base supports him but a lot of people really hate him. “

This includes the Speaker of Parliament, Igor Zorcic, who recently left Mr Jansa’s coalition. “I don’t want my country to follow Hungary’s model,” he said.

Mr Gabrijelcic said he quit Mr Jansa’s party because he “got too mean”, moving away from what he saw as a healthy response to center-left orthodoxy for become a refuge for paranoid and nationalist hate diggers.

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