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Party without parliamentary seats leads in Slovenia opinion poll

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Party without parliamentary seats leads in Slovenia opinion poll

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LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - A centre-left party that has no seats in Slovenia's parliament and is led by a former comedian topped an opinion poll published by daily newspaper Delo on Monday, about six months ahead of an expected general election.

The Lista Marjana Sarca (LMS) under Marjan Sarec, mayor of the city of Kamnik, drew the support of 15.7 percent with a junior governing coalition party, the Social Democrats, in second place with 12.6 percent and the leading opposition party, the centre-left Slovenian Democratic Party, with 12.2 percent.

The Party of Modern Centre led by Prime Minister Miro Cerar came in sixth with 5.5 percent. Last month, the Social Democrats led the same poll with 19.8 percent while the LMS was not yet included in the survey.

Sarec surprised many last month when he was narrowly beaten in a presidential run-off election, gathering about 47 percent to incumbent Borut Pahor's 53 percent.

Analysts said Sarec's party, which has so far been active only at local level, could win a parliamentary vote amid general dissatisfaction with the centre-left government, above all its inability to improve the inefficient national health system.

The government of the southeast European country is also under heavy pressure from various public sector unions demanding wage hikes at a time of strong economic growth, expected to be 4.4 percent this year, up from 3.1 percent in 2016.

Pahor will call a general election in the coming months and it is expected to be held in the first half of June.

(Reporting By Marja Novak)

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