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Europe

No Clear Winner in Sight Before Slovenia Goes to the Polls

No clear winner was in sight on Saturday, Sept. 20, a day before Slovenians vote in a general election.

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa has a very slight lead over his nearest rival

Some surveys predict Prime Minister Janez Jansa, 50, and his centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) will obtain slightly more votes than the rival Social Democrats (SD) led by Borhut Pahor.

Both parties are tipped to win between 26-29 per cent of the vote, making a coalition unavoidable in the 90-seat Drzavni Zbor, or lower house.

The final outcome depends on how the numerous smaller parties perform, and whether they clear the 4 per cent hurdle needed for parliamentary representation.

Analysts say a deciding roll could be played by the pragmatic Pensioners' party DESUS, which backed a Social Democrat coalition up to 2004 before joining Jansa's centre-right government.

The party is expected to garner around 10 per cent of the vote, roughly the same as the nationalist SNS led by controversial politician Zmago Jelinic.

In their final television appearances on Friday both Jansa and his challenger Pahor stressed their readiness to enter into coalitions.

The prime minister said he was open to a broad-based coalition that would overcome the divisions between left and right that have polarized politics in the country of 1.7 million voters.

PM's rival praises country's recent progress

Pahor, 44, said he was opposed to a grand coalition, but praised what he called the positive economic developments which had taken place in Slovenia over the past four years.

The SDS has led three smaller parties in the coalition for a full term since 2004, and the outgoing government can look back on maintaining solid economic growth, keeping unemployment at a record low and smoothly running a six-month presidency of the European Union.

Voting begins at 7 am (0600 CET) on Sunday and ends at 7 pm. Initial results are due about three hours after the polls close, but a final result is not expected until early next week.

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