Slovenian coalition partner demands PM resignation

By bne IntelliNews January 14, 2013

bne -

A junior coalition party of Slovenia's government threatened on January 12 to quit unless Prime Minister Janez Jansa resigns over corruption allegations. The crisis comes at a critical time for Slovenia, which is desperately trying to avoid becoming the next Eurozone country to have to ask for a bailout due to recession and bad loans at state banks.

Slovenia has been in political crisis since January 8, when an anti-corruption commission said Jansa was unable to explain the origin of some of his income. The PM denied the income was suspicious and retains strong support within his centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party, which leads the coalition. But smaller coalition partners said they were considering quitting the government.

"If Jansa does not resign in 10 days ... the Civic List (CL) will no longer be a member of the coalition," the head of the CL, parliamentary speaker Gregor Virant, said after a meeting of the party's council, Reuters reports. The CL holds seven seats in the 48-seat coalition. The parliament has 90 seats, meaning the government would lose its parliamentary majority if the party quit.

Analysts quizzed by STA newswire suggest Jansa is unlikely to step down. But while Matevz Tomsic of the Nova Gorica School of Advanced Social Studies deems an early election the most likely scenario, others favour a new coalition under a technocrat PM.

Opposition leader Zoran Jankovic, who is also mayor of the capital Ljubljana, said on January 12 that he would not run for prime minister because the anti-corruption commission had said he too was unable to explain the origin of some income. Jankovic has also denied wrongdoing.

More than 5,000 people protested in the centre of Ljubljana on January 11, demanding that Jansa and Jankovic should both quit.

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