Slovenia's new health minister resigns, cites media pressure

LJUBLJANA, March 25 Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:57am EDT

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LJUBLJANA, March 25 (Reuters) - Slovenia's health minister resigned on Tuesday after only one month in office, citing media pressure over allegations of corruption that she denies.

Alenka Trop Skaza took over in February following the resignation of her predecessor Tomaz Gantar in November. Gantar blamed a lack of unity inside the centre-left government on how to reform the health system.

Curbing public health costs is a priority for Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek's government, which narrowly avoided an international bailout in December by pumping 3.3 billion euros ($45.49 billion) into its banking system.

Local media have accused Skaza of possible corruption because her husband's construction company did a lot of business with hospitals. She has denied the allegations and said she was only resigning as she could not face the pressure.

"Even before presenting my programme, I was being accused of corruption for allegedly being connected to people I did not even know," Skaza said in her resignation statement.

"I had no idea there would be so much pressure ... I am not tough enough to stand all that pressure."

Bratusek now has three months to name a new health minister.

Skaza is the fifth minister to quit Bratusek's cabinet since it took power in March last year but analysts said there would be little impact on the four-party coalition.

"The coalition will not be hurt by this as the parties are broadly leaving the health system problems in the hands of (Bratusek's) Positive Slovenia party," said Borut Hocevar, a political analyst at the daily newspaper Finance. ($1 = 0.7255 Euros) (Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Robin Pomeroy)

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