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Newcomer Miro Cerar leads Slovenia poll

Second early elections in three years held amid instability that threatens the small eurozone nation's economy.

Last updated: 13 Jul 2014 18:33
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Bratusek resigned as prime minister after losing a power struggle within her party [AFP]

An exit poll indicates that a newly formed party has won the most votes in Slovenia's second early election in three years.

The poll released by Mediana polling agency says that Miro Cerar's Party - named after its leader - won 36.9 percent of the ballot on Sunday, while the opposition conservatives of former prime minister Janez Jansa were trailing with 19.2 percent.

If confirmed, the result means that Cerar, a law expert and son of Miroslav Cerar, a Slovenian Olympic medalist, will most probably be the next prime minister but will have to form a coalition government.

The poll shows the Pensioners Party with 9.7 percent, followed by the Social Democrats with 5.8 percent. A new leftist group, United Left, made it into parliament with 7 percent of votes.

The party of Alenka Bratusek, the outgoing prime minister, won 4.7 percent.

Slovenians voted on Sunday amid political instability that has threatened the small eurozone nation's bid to pull out of an economic downturn.

The ballot was forced when the outgoing prime minister, Alenka Bratusek, resigned in May after losing a power struggle within her Positive Slovenia party.

'Loss of trust'

The government of Bratusek's predecessor Janez Jansa, formed after an early vote in 2011, collapsed last year when he faced corruption allegations.

He was jailed last month in a bribery case unrelated to the scandal that brought down his government.

Cerar, a 50-year-old parliamentary consultant, formed the party in June, but swiftly gained popularity because of his untainted public record.

Cerar said upon casting his ballot that "people have lost trust in political parties".

"They know the crisis is still strong," he said.

"The only possibility for ending it is to have new people, unburdened by past stories, enter politics."

Cerar has opposed the privatisation of some of Slovenia's state-run companies, which is part of an EU-backed anti-crisis package.

The outgoing government froze the sale process of Slovenia's main airport and Telekom Slovenia until a new Cabinet was formed.

Slovenia plunged into financial turmoil during the eurozone debt crisis.

Once the most prosperous of the eastern European countries, the Alpine nation has narrowly avoided an international bailout.

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Source:
Associated Press
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