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story.lead_photo.caption Janez Jansa, leader of the rightist Slovenian Democratic Party, casts his parliamentary election ballot Sunday at a polling station in Ljubljana.

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia -- A right-wing opposition party led by a former Slovenian prime minister won the most votes in Slovenia's parliamentary election Sunday, but not enough to form a government on its own, according to preliminary results.

The State Election Commission said after counting some 90 percent of the ballots that Janez Jansa's Slovenian Democratic Party received around 25 percent of the vote. The second-place anti-establishment List of Marjan Sarec trailed with some 12 percent.

The Social Democrats came in third with nearly 10 percent, while the Modern Center Party of the outgoing prime minister, Miro Cerar, and the Left both received around 9 percent.

The preliminary tally means no party secured a majority in Slovenia's 90-member parliament, and the likely next step is negotiations to form a coalition government.

Slovenia was once part of the former Yugoslavia and is the native home of U.S. first lady Melania Trump. Bordering Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy and a slice of the Adriatic Sea, the country joined the European Union in 2004 and has used the euro as its official currency since 2007.

Jansa, who served as prime minister during 2004-2008 and 2012-2013, tweeted that "we do not fear tomorrow; we are looking forward to it."

"The trust of everyone who cast votes for us today makes us strong," Jansa added. "If SDS forms the government, we will lead it on a fair way, to the benefit of all citizens," he said, using the Slovenian abbreviation for his party.

But postelection negotiations could keep Jansa away from another term in office since other groups have suggested they were unwilling to form an alliance with him.

Runner-up Sarec reiterated Sunday that a coalition with Jansa was not an option and said he hoped his party would lead a future coalition government.

Sarec is a former satirical comedian who gave up acting to enter politics and become mayor of the northwestern town of Kamnik. He also ran for president last year.

"If everybody respects our pre-election agreements, I expect that we will get the opportunity to form the government," he said.

Jansa is an ally of Hungary's anti-immigration prime minister, Viktor Orban. His election prowess with Slovenia's 1.7 million voters mirrors the growth of right-wing populism in central and eastern Europe after a large influx of migrants from the Mideast and Africa.

A government led by Jansa would shift Slovenia to the right and add an anti-immigrant voice to the European Union. Some 500,000 migrants passed through Slovenia, a country with a population of 2 million, during 2015.

Cerar, the outgoing prime minister, has been credited with boosting the country's economy after a downturn. Sunday's election was held a few weeks earlier than scheduled as a result of his sudden resignation in March over a failed railway project.

Information for this article was contributed by Jovana Gec of The Associated Press.

A Section on 06/04/2018

Print Headline: Far-right party leads Slovenian vote

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