Ex-PM aims to oust president amid Slovenian bailout fears
Slovenia’s former prime minister, Borut Pahor, will try to oust president Danilo Turk in an election run-off next month, amid growing fears that the ex-Yugoslav republic will be the next EU member to need a bailout.
Mr Pahor took 40 per cent of the votes in Sunday’s first round of the presidential election, ahead of Mr Turk with 36 per cent and government-backed candidate Milan Zver with 24 per cent.
Mr Turk is a centre-left independent and Mr Pahor represents the Social Democrats, who are in opposition to the ruling conservative coalition of premier Janez Jansa.
Mr Jansa ousted Mr Pahor in a snap election last December, after economic woes undermined his government and its proposed reforms were rejected in referendums.
Both Mr Turk and Mr Pahor have criticised Mr Jansa, but the former premier is now calling for unity at a time of financial peril, and broadly backs Mr Jansa’s austerity measures.
Having grown strongly before the financial crisis, Slovenia plunged into recession in 2009 and its economy is still shrinking. Unemployment has climbed to about 12 per cent.
The government wants urgently to create a “bad bank” similar to Ireland’s model, which would buy non-performing loans from struggling lenders, recapitalising them in the process.
A trade union that wants a referendum on the issue yesterday gained clearance to start collecting the 40,000 signatures it needs to force a vote, despite government opposition.
Analysts say Slovenia may need EU aid for its lenders if the “bad bank” plan is blocked.