Slovenia's president to give mandate to anti-immigrant party to form government

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia’s President Borut Pahor said on Thursday he would invite Janez Jansa of the anti-immigrant Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) to form a government, although it remains unclear whether Jansa will be able to secure a majority in parliament.

Janez Jansa, leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), speaks to the media and supporters after the general election in Ljubljana, Slovenia, June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Borut Zivulovic

After meeting Jansa, Pahor said he would give him the mandate after parliament convenes next week on June 22 or 23.

He also told a news conference that Jansa would not accept the nomination if another party can show by then that it is able to form a governing coalition.

Jansa confirmed that at a joint news conference, adding that he will invite all parliamentary parties to talk about forming a government.

“We want a coalition which will work for Slovenia and will not focus on marginal issues,” Jansa said.

His party won a June 3 election, taking 25 out of parliament’s 90 seats, on pledges to abolish migrant quotas, strengthen the security forces, cut taxes and speed up privatizations. But most other parties have said they would not go into coalition with the anti-immigrant SDS.

Jansa said on Thursday he would be willing to leave the post of prime minister to some other member of his party if that would make forming a government easier.

“The SDS is a party that has been around for decades ... I am not the only option (for the prime minister),” he said without elaborating.

The second largest party, the center-left List of Marjan Sarec (LMS), which has 13 seats, meanwhile said it had started informal talks with other parliamentary groups, repeating that it does not plan to go into a coalition with the SDS.

Analysts said coalition talks would be long, with the new government unlikely to be in place before September.

“There is also an option of a snap election but I think parties are likely to do everything to avoid that,” Tanja Staric, a political analyst for Radio Slovenia, told Reuters.

The yield on Slovenia’s 10-year benchmark bond rose to 1.234 percent by 1200 GMT on Thursday from 1.210 a day before but analysts said that reflected similar moves in core euro zone debt rather than worries about Slovenian political uncertainty.

Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Catherine Evans