The six-week-old party of Slovenian political newcomer Miro Cerar won a snap election on pledges to reconsider the state-asset sales that helped sink the previous government. Cerar’s party got 35 percent of the vote, beating jailed ex-Premier Janez Jansa’s Slovenian Democratic Party, which got 21 percent, the State Election Commission said yesterday with 99.9 percent of ballots counted. Karl Erjavec’s pensioners party, Desus, was third with 10 percent, while the United Left was fourth with 6 percent, according to the commission, based in Ljubljana, the capital. Turnout was 51 percent, it said. Cerar is set to form the fourth coalition government since 2008 in the former Yugoslav republic of 2 million, which pushed through a 3.2 billion-euro ($4.4 billion) banking rescue last year to avoid a bailout similar to fellow euro members Greece and Cyprus. His pledge to review outgoing Premier Alenka Bratusek’s privatization plan risks friction with the European Union, which backed the proposals to help bolster state coffers.
Jolanka Horvat has watched her home region of Pomurje, in Slovenia’s northeast, slide deeper into poverty and joblessness over the past few years. And the 53-year-old seamstress has little hope of change after Slovenia’s snap election this weekend, the third in less than three years. “Our kids will have to go abroad to make a living,” the mother of two told AFP ahead of Sunday’s vote. “I expect nothing from this nor any other government… they just make promises but nothing happens,” she said, a refrain echoed around the country. Once a model member of the European Union which it joined in 2004, Slovenia was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis and narrowly escaped a bailout last year.
Slovenians head to the polls on Sunday faced with a choice between a political novice and a former prime minister serving time for corruption and with little hope of returning their troubled country to stability. The vote will be the second early elections in three years for Slovenia, a once model member of the European Union that has been on a downward spiral since the 2008 financial crisis. Miro Cerar, a prestigious law professor, is favoured to win despite his lack of political experience, and analysts predict that any new government will not last long, spelling further instability for the small nation of two million. The Miro Cerar Party, which he founded only in June, is expected to win between 29 and 37 percent of the vote, according to the latest polls. The main opposition centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party, whose leader, former prime minister Janez Jansa, began serving a two-year prison sentence just last month, is meanwhile polling at 15 to 24 percent.
Slovenia is halting all privatizations until a new government is formed after a snap election on July 13, outgoing Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek said on Thursday, drawing a sharp response from the finance minister in her own government. Analysts said the move was aimed at raising Bratusek’s popularity with voters, who generally oppose attempts to sell local companies. Finance Minister Uros Cufer called the decision a part of “pre-election hysteria”. The decision could ultimately deter investors or bring down the prices of companies sold, analysts said, and delay much needed revenue for a country that had to inject 3.3 billion euros ($4.5 billion) into its banks in December to avoid an international bailout.