The poll carried by public broadcaster TV Slovenia and commercial channel POP TV said that Janez Jansa's Slovenian Democratic Party received 24.4 per cent of the vote. The second-place party, the List of Marjan Sarec, trailed with 12.6 per cent.
The Modern Center Party of outgoing Prime Minister Miro Cerar was third with 9.8 per cent. The Left party had 9.5 per cent and the Social Democrats won 9.3 per cent, the poll conducted by the Mediana Institute said.
If confirmed in official returns, the results mean no party secured a majority in Slovenia's 90-member parliament and the likely next step is negotiations to form a coalition government.
The negotiations could keep Jansa from another term as prime minister since other groups have suggested they were unwilling to form an alliance with him. He previously held the office during 2004-2008 and 2012-2013.
Jansa is an ally of Hungary's anti-immigration prime minister, Viktor Orban. His election prowess with Slovenia's 1.7 million voters mirrors the growth of right-wing populism in central and eastern Europe following a large influx of migrants from the Mideast and Africa.
A government led by Jansa would shift Slovenia to the right and add an anti-immigrant voice to the European Union. Some 500,000 migrants passed through Slovenia, a country with a population of 2 million, during 2015.
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