LJUBLJANA Aug 22 Slovenia's parliament is
expected to vote in political novice Miro Cerar as the euro zone
country's new prime minister on Monday, parliament speaker Doris
Cerar and his three-month-old centre-left SMC party won a
snap election in July, giving the strong mandate his
predecessors have lacked and potentially helping restore
stability after years of turbulence and weak government.
The 50-year-old law professor has indicated he would rewrite
reforms agreed with the European Union to fix the country's
finances, and is against some of the big privatisations that
the EU says are vital to a long-term fix for Slovenia.
If he is voted in on Monday, as expected, Cerar will have 15
days to form a cabinet which also needs parliament's approval.
Cerar is in coalition talks with the pensioners' party Desus
and the Social Democrats, both of whom were members of the
previous centre-left government, which narrowly avoided having
to seek an international bailout for Slovenia's banks last year.
Details of the cabinet make-up remain sketchy. Cerar's party
said on Thursday economy professor Dusan Mramor would be finance
minister. Mramor was finance minister from 2002 to 2004 when he
hiked taxes and kept a lid on the budget deficit.
Cerar's government will have to bring the budget deficit
down to 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) next year, as
agreed with the European Commission, from about 4.2 percent seen
The deficit soared to 14.7 percent of GDP last year when the
government had to pour about 3.3 billion euros ($4.4 billion) of
its own funds into a banking sector beset by bad loans.
Although Cerar is against selling strategic assets such as
telecom operator Telekom Slovenia, airport Aerodrom
Ljubljana, port Luka Koper and railways, he
has expressed readiness to sell smaller state firms.
(Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Louise Ireland)