July 3, 2020 / 2:37 PM / a month ago

Slovenia's ruling coalition agrees cooperation with opposition

FILE PHOTO: Janez Jansa, new Slovenian Prime Minister speaks in parliament in Ljubljana, Slovenia, March 13 , 2020. REUTERS/Borut Zivulovic

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia’s centre-right ruling coalition sought on Friday to strengthen its tiny majority as it steers a recovery from economic woes caused by coronavirus, signing a cooperation agreement with an opposition party and two independent parliamentary members.

The coalition led by Prime Minister Janez Jansa is composed of four parties and holds only 46 out of 90 seats in parliament after two members of a junior coalition party joined two centre-left opposition parties in May, citing dissatisfaction with the government.

The cooperation agreement was signed with the opposition Slovenian Nationalist Party, which holds three seats and has supported the government in most parliamentary decisions over the past months.

“Ahead of us there is an important period of economic recovery and we want to assure the best possible conditions for overcoming the expected recession,” the agreement said, adding the government will present a detailed programme of its plans within 30 days.

Slovenia expects its economy to shrink by 7.6% this year, hit by the fall of foreign demand for its exports due to the coronavirus epidemic. The country, which in May became the first European state to declare an end to its epidemic, has reported 1,649 coronavirus cases and 111 deaths.

“The government has a good chance to stay in power till the next regular election in 2022, partly due to the fact that none of the coalition parties wants early election,” Meta Roglic, a political analyst of daily Dnevnik, told Reuters following the agreement.

Civil society groups are organising street protests against the government every Friday, saying it is harming civil rights by putting pressure on the media and the judiciary and limiting the rights of environmental organisations.

Jansa took office in March after his predecessor, centre-left Marjan Sarec, resigned in January.

Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Frances Kerry

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