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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - LJUBLJANA — Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec announced on Monday he would step down and called for fresh elections, following weeks of rising tensions within his minority coalition government.
"With these members of parliament and this coalition I cannot fulfill the people's expectations," he told journalists.
"The most honest thing we could do now would be early elections... to ask people whether they trust me and they want me to continue to work," added Sarec, who became prime minister in September 2018 following a previous snap election.
Sarec, 42, is Slovenia's youngest ever prime minister and was previously best known as a comedian and political satirist before he launched himself as an anti-establishment politician.
His resignation came almost at the same time as Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj also announced he would quit in a row over healthcare funding.
Since taking office, Sarec's center-left government has been buffeted by a string of scandals and disputes, leaving it unable to pass key legislation.
Bertoncelj was the latest of six high-profile ministers to resign from the current government.
In December, the coalition barely managed to appoint a new cohesion minister after the populist Slovenian National Party agreed to abstain from the vote.
In the 2018 poll, Sarec stressed his pro-European credentials and compared his politics to those of centrist French President Emmanuel Macron.
The main opposition, the right-wing Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), campaigned on a tough anti-immigration line and won the most seats in parliament but failed to attract sufficient coalition partners.
Slovenian President Borut Pahor will now have to start talks with political parties to see whether any of them can form a new coalition that commands a parliamentary majority.
A recent opinion poll carried out for the private POP TV station showed the prime minister's "Marjan Sarec List" ahead with 15.1 percent, while the SDS was just behind on 14.1 percent.
The Social Democrats (SD), a junior member in the current coalition, and the left-wing opposition party Levica, were both on 7.2 percent. — AFP
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