Slovenia's ruling party to choose new leader on April 25

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 10, 2014 11:35 AM

By Marja Novak

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek's Positive Slovenia party will elect a new leadership on April 25, the party said on Thursday, a move that will determine the future of Bratusek's coalition government.

If Bratusek is not re-elected as party president, it could bring down her center-left government and create new trouble for the country that barely avoided an international bailout last year.

Her main challenger, Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovic, who founded Positive Slovenia in 2011, had said he would only disclose on the day of the vote whether he would also run for the party presidency.

However, all three parties in coalition with Positive Slovenia had said they would not cooperate with a party led by Jankovic because he is under investigation for alleged corruption. Jankovic has rejected all allegations.

"It is most probable that Jankovic will eventually decide against running for the president of the party, being aware that his election would break the party, the coalition and the government," said Borut Hocevar, an analyst at daily Finance.

Bratusek is in the coming weeks expected to announce when she will seek a confidence vote in parliament to garner support for painful reforms, which include public sector cuts and privatisation.

Slovenia was once the fastest growing euro zone member but its export-oriented economy was badly hit by the global financial crisis in 2008.

Its banks, which are mostly state-controlled, piled up a large amount of bad loans through years of reckless lending and the government had to inject 3.3 billion euros in the banks in December to avoid a bailout.

(Reporting By Marja Novak; editing by Mark Heinrich)