Slovenian president to renew talks to find candidate for prime minister

Borut Pahor is Slovenia’s current president. (Reuters pic)

LJUBLJANA: Slovenian President Borut Pahor will on Friday renew talks with parliamentary parties to find a candidate for prime minister who can win a majority after an initial effort proved unsuccessful.

Any new government must start privatisation of Slovenia’s largest bank, Nova Ljubljanska banka, as the country said in 2013 it would sell the bank as a condition of the European Commission’s approval of state aid to it.

Pahor is expected to nominate a candidate early next week, who will then have seven days to win parliamentary confirmation.

Slovenia held a general election a month ago but the centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) of former prime minister Janez Janša, which won most seats, lacks potential coalition partners.

“If no candidate would get clear support in continuation of talks with heads of parliamentary parties … President Pahor will nominate … Janša,” Pahor’s office said in a statement. SDS holds 25 of 90 seats and needs to team up with at least two parties for a majority.

So far only the conservative New Slovenia party and the nationalist Slovenian Nationalist Party say they would support Janša, while other parties reject the prospect of coalition with the anti-immigrant SDS.

The two parties hold 11 seats, which would leave Janša with 36 seats and still 10 short of parliamentary majority.

The second largest party, the centre-left List of Marjan Šarec (LMS), which has 13 seats in parliament, hopes to wrap up by Friday talks with NSI and four other centre-left parties – the Social Democrats, the Party of Modern Centre, the Party of Alenka Bratušek, and pensioners’ party Desus.

The six parties hold 50 seats but LMS head Marjan Šarec was unable to say whether the coalition could be formed by Friday. “We are working on it,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Analysts said the chances of Šarec forming a coalition by Friday are small, so Janša will most probably be nominated even if he lacks support for a majority.

“Even early elections cannot be excluded,” Tanja Starič, a political analyst on Radio Slovenia, told Reuters.

If the nominated candidate would not get majority support in parliament, the president and parliamentary members would have to name the same or other candidates within 14 days.

Parliament must in the autumn elect a new central bank governor who will sit on the European Central Bank’s governing board after the former governor resigned in April to take a position on the EU’s Single Resolution Board.