UPDATE 1-Slovenia president expects new government in second half of September

Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:17am EDT

* Coalition talks to start next week

* Parliament to convene in early August (Adds details, background)

By Marja Novak

LJUBLJANA, July 16 (Reuters) - Slovenia's new government could be formed in the second half of September, President Borut Pahor said on Wednesday, after a new centre-left party won the most votes in a snap election.

The Party of Miro Cerar (SMC) won 36 out of 90 seats in parliament, more than any other party since Slovenia's independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

Analysts say Cerar, a law professor and political novice, may give Slovenia the stability it needs to revive its economy but his reluctance to sell big state assets could pile up public debt, which would worry its euro zone peers.

Slovenia narrowly avoided an international bailout for its banks last year after the global crisis crippled its exports and bad loans soared. Its debt is expected to reach 81 percent of GDP this year, up from 71.7 percent in 2013.

"Following a patient dialogue between parties and their parliamentary groups, a new government could be formed in the second half of September," Pahor's office said in a statement after he met Cerar.

Sunday's snap election was called because the centre-left Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek resigned in May after losing the battle for leadership of the Positive Slovenia party.

The official election results are due on July 29. Parliament will convene in early August and the president must nominate a prime minister-designate within the following 30 days.

Cerar is due to begin coalition talks next week, his party said. He has said he would talk with all parliamentary parties except the centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party, whose leader Janez Jansa is serving a 2-year jail sentence for graft.

Cerar's party needs at least one or two small parties to secure a majority in parliament but Cerar had said he hoped for a large coalition, which would enable him to implement reforms.

Cerar has vowed to meet obligations set by the EU but said he would reconsider the planned sell-off of telecom operator Telekom Slovenia and the main airport Aerodrom Ljubljana.

(Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)