The right-wing Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), which is a proponent of anti-refugee policy, has gained the highest number of votes in parliamentary elections.
According to preliminary results, the opposition SDS party of veteran leader Janez Jansa, a former prime minister, won less than 25 percent of the votes in Sunday’s elections, securing 25 seats in the 90-seat parliament.
The SDS was followed by the Marjan Sarec List (LMS), led by Kamnik’s Mayor Marjan Sarec, with 12.6 percent of the ballots and 13 parliamentary seats, the State Election Commission said.
The center-left Social Democrats also finished in third place with 9.9 percent, while the SMC party of outgoing Prime Minister Miro Cerar gained 9.7 percent.
The far-right National Party (SNS) has also made a surprise return to parliament with 4.3 percent.
Officials have put the turnout at around 51.5 percent.
Jansa, known for his anti-refugee rhetoric, has been a vocal supporter of Hungary’s anti-migrant Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The politician and his supporters believe the money being spent on refugees would better be used on strengthening Slovenia’s security forces.
However, despite leading the vote, Jansa’s SDS failed to secure a majority in the legislative chamber, which means he will have to enter talks with other parties to form a coalition government.
The SDS is expected to have a tough time in the upcoming talks as most of the political forces had earlier said they would not be joining a coalition with the anti-refugee party if it won the elections.
“(Our) party puts Slovenia, Slovenians first,” Jansa, a former premier, said after preliminary results came out, adding that the SDS is ready for coalition talks with all other parliamentary parties.
“We are open for cooperation, Slovenia is facing times which need cooperation,” he said.
Jansa, who was prime minister from 2004 to 2008 and from 2012 to 2013, also said, “We will probably have to wait for some time … before serious talks on a new government will be possible,” he said.
Jansa spent six months in prison in 2014 after being convicted of bribery in a 2006 arms deal but was freed after the Constitutional Court ordered a retrial, which did not take place because a 10-year time limit expired. He had denied any wrongdoing.
With the new parliamentary results, Slovenians joined the ranks of eastern member states of the European Union – notably Hungary and Poland – which have turned to parties with an anti-migrant nationalist ideology.