The future First Lady called Sevnica, a town of around 4,500, home for more than 20 years until she moved to the United States to pursue a modeling career.
“People were partying all night, it was like some football game,” Jelena Ascic, an anchor and correspondent for Radiotelevizija Slovenija, Slovenia’s public television station, told The Huffington Post in a call.
Some in Sevnica and in Ljubljana, the country’s capital, even hung American flags from their windows, Ascic added.
“I expect her to visit Sevnica later,” the town mayor Srecko Ocvirk told The Associated Press. Some local residents, Ascic added, predict a street will be named after her.
A Sevnica inn even began serving a Melania-themed dessert, local resident Tomaz Hribar said via direct message on Twitter.
For the past few weeks U.S. election news has dominated the Slovenian media, Ascic said. And now that the race has been called, the media and politicians “expect something to change for Slovenia, for it to become more known in the world,” she added.
But opinion is divided. The right wing, she said, is delighted, while the left wing is split. Some in the left wing “claim that Americans chose between two evils, that Hillary Clinton is not better than Donald Trump, she’s just more polite and less vulgar,” she said.
Other factions on the left, however, are anxious because they fear this is a harbinger for an extreme-right overhaul across Europe, she added.
Regardless of political affiliation, Ascic concluded, it’s a big day for Slovenia.
“We now have a U.S. First Lady,” she said. “Some people are joking that now little Slovenia owns half of the White House.”
Slovenian prime minister Miro Cerar congratulated the president-elect in a statement released to the media on Wednesday morning. He also said he felt “satisfaction about the fact that First Lady comes from Slovenia.”
Cerar tweeted his congratulations, accentuating the word “love” in his hashtag: