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Slovenian report Slovenian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-10-13 07:40:24
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Ljubljana mayor joins Slovenia election race to challenge Jansa

Zoran Jankovic, the mayor of Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana, will form his own party to compete in early elections in December, kicking off a battle for leadership in the euro region nation that is struggling to control public spending amid a debt crisis in Europe. Jankovic, 58, the former chief executive officer of Mercator Poslovni Sistem (MELR) d.d., will jump into the race immediately, he told reporters in Ljubljana today.

Jankovic will compete with Janez Jansa, a former Prime Minister and leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party which is ahead in opinion polls. The new government will have to tackle spending cuts and spur the export-driven economy as demand in Europe wanes and as the debt and banking crisis weigh on confidence.

“Jankovic’s candidacy would increase the choice for voters and like Jansa, he has a couple of weaknesses,” Ali Zerdin, a political analyst and editor at Delo newspaper in Ljubljana, said in an e-mail before the announcement. “The main question is, will Jankovic convince voters outside Ljubljana? On the positive side, he knows about more about balance sheets unlike many other politicians here.”  Jansa’s party will likely form the new government, according to a survey by Delo Stik after Prime Minister Borut Pahor’s administration was toppled on Sept. 20 following disagreements between coalition partners over the pension changes and an early vote.


An austerity bill freezing pensions, public sector wages and social transfers for 2012

The Slovenian government adopted an austerity bill freezing pensions, public sector wages and social transfers for 2012, setting it on a collision course with the unions, which have been demanding that the plan be shelved. The bill appears dead on arrival, though, as both coalition deputy groups said they would not endorse it reports Slovenia Times. Under the proposal, pensions, social transfers and public sector wages would not be adjusted to inflation as they typically are every year. Moreover, even wages of judges would not increase despite a Constitutional Court decision to that effect, outgoing Development Minister Mitja Gaspari said.

The austerity bill is to save Slovenia EUR 102m in pensions, EUR 120m in public sector pay and EUR 75m in social transfers to individuals and households, amounting to a total of EUR 297m, according to outgoing Finance Minister Franc Krizanic.

If the bill is not implemented, the next government will have to introduce much more radical measures to get the same effect - reducing the budget deficit to 3.6% of GDP, said Krizanic.


President urges cabinet action amid EFSF crisis

Slovenian President Danilo Turk urged leaders to settle squabbles that toppled the government of the first former communist euro-region member to avoid a delay in approving the European Union’s rescue fund amid a sovereign- debt crisis. Lawmakers ousted Prime Minister Borut Pahor’s government yesterday in a confidence motion after two parties left over pension changes, with elections now likely to be held as early as December. The fall of the minority Cabinet may force a postponement of a vote to back the legislation enhancing the European Financial Stability Facility after EU leaders on July 21 agreed to upgrade the 440 billion-euro ($602 billion) fund, which needs unanimous backing in all 17 euro-area members.

“The political situation in Slovenia is serious and strained and demands responsible action from all political subjects,” Turk said in an e-mailed statement yesterday, noting he will cut short a visit to the U.S. “Now is the time for quick and well-thought action.”

Slovenia, along with other newer EU nations such as Slovakia, is showing little empathy for countries that aren’t showing the fiscal discipline they were forced to endure as part of becoming members in 2004. Slovenia’s Democratic Party, which opinion polls show is likely to emerge as the winner of an early election, is headed by Janez Jansa, who has said countries such as his shouldn’t have to fund nations like Greece.

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