Slovenia's parliament was due to vote yesterday (27 February), after European Voice went to press, on whether to remove Janez Janša from the post of prime minister. Parliamentarians were expected to oust the unpopular Janša, the leader of the centre-right, who is embroiled in a corruption scandal, following a debate that began in mid-morning in an emergency session of the parliament in Ljubljana.
The task of forming a new government is expected to fall on Alenka Bratušek from the centre-left opposition. If she is unable to put together a new government within 14 days, an early election will be required – something that the main political parties want to avoid, for fear of forcing the country into a bail-out.
The banking sector of this small eurozone country is weighed down by bad loans, and needs a capital injection of up to €5 billion.
Bratušek, the interim leader of Positive Slovenia (PS), is a financial expert who managed Slovenia's budget in the finance ministry before her election to parliament in December 2011. In her bid for parliamentary support yesterday, she pledged to scrap austerity measures introduced by Janša's government and to focus on generating growth.
The populist, vaguely leftish PS became the largest party in parliament following the 2011 election, and at the time, under the leadership of Zoran Jankovic?, the mayor of Ljubljana, it tried, and failed, to form a government.
That was the point at which Janša put together his five-party, centre-right coalition. However, he lost his coalition partners when he refused to resign over corruption allegations last January. Slovenia's anti-corruption commission said that Janša was unable to explain some €210,000 in assets. It was a similar claim – concerning €2.4 million – that prompted Jankovic? to hand over leadership of the PS to Bratušek. Both men deny that the money came from dubious sources.