LJUBLA Slovenia will hold a snap parliamentary election on July 13, President Borut Pahor declared on Sunday.
The election follows the resignation of the centre-left Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek in May after she lost a battle for the leadership of the Positive Slovenia party.
Two non-parliamentary parties had said they would dispute the election date at the Constitutional Court, arguing an election should not be held during summer holidays when many people will be away and turnout will be lower than usually.
It is not clear when the court could rule on the matter.
"A snap election is a much, much better choice than trying to find another candidate for a prime minister," Pahor told reporters, adding that he expected the new government to be in place by the middle of September.
He also said Slovenia was on its way out of an economic crisis after it narrowly avoided an international bailout in December by pumping some 3.3 billion euros ($4.5 billion) into banks to prevent them collapsing under bad loans piled up through years of reckless lending.
The government expects the economy to expand by 0.5 percent this year, boosted by a growth of exports, after two years of recession.
The opposition Slovenian Democratic Party has been ahead in opinion polls in recent months and won the recent European Parliament election, getting 24.9 percent of the vote.
However, that could change at the general election when turnout is expected to be at least twice as high as the 24.1 percent at the European vote.
Analysts say the centre-left parties could be in a better position to form a government after the election, providing they manage to agree on an informal coalition before the vote and overcome fragmentation.
The interim premier, Bratusek, formed a new centre-left party on Saturday while another new centre-left party will be formed on Monday by a popular law professor, Miro Cerar. [ID:nL6N0OG1MW]
Bratusek has said her party was ready to establish an alliance with other centre-left parties to attract more voters.
($1 = 0.7328 Euros)
(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)