Slovenia president names center-right Janez Jansa as PM candidate

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia’s President on Wednesday named former prime minister Janez Jansa, the head of the largest party in parliament, as a candidate for prime minister and asked parliament to confirm him.

FILE PHOTO: Janez Jansa, leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), speaks to the media and supporters after the general election in Ljubljana, Slovenia, June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Borut Zivulovic

Parliament is expected to confirm Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) head Jansa in a secret vote next week. He will replace center-left Prime Minister Marjan Sarec, who resigned last month.

“In talks with parliamentary groups I established that the candidate enjoys majority support and that we can expect his confirmation (in parliament),” President Borut Pahor told a news conference.

The nomination comes a day after the SDS agreed a majority coalition with the center-left Party of Modern Centre (SMC), the conservative New Slovenia and the pensioners’ party Desus.

The four parties together hold 48 out of 90 seats in parliament, although one member of the SMC had said he would not support a government led by Jansa.

Jansa told a news conference that his government will focus on improving the inefficient national health system, cutting red tape and decentralising the country. One of its main tasks will be presiding the European Union in the second half of 2021.

Jansa, 61, led the Slovenian government from 2004 to 2008 and from 2012 to 2013. He is close to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and has advocated stricter border controls to prevent the inflow of illegal migrants.

His party is also pushing for the introduction of military conscription to increase the power of the army, currently run as a professional force.

Jansa told a news conference it will be necessary to amend the budget plan which was prepared by the outgoing government, but did not elaborate. The existing plan, as prepared by the outgoing government, envisages a budget surplus of about 1% of GDP this year and the next.

According to the coalition agreement his government will increase pensions and award more money from the budget to local municipalities.

After being confirmed by parliament, Jansa will have 15 days to present his government, which is expected to be confirmed by parliament by the end of March.

Sarec, who led the first minority government in Slovenia’s history, resigned because his cabinet did not have sufficient support in parliament to enforce important legislation. A regular parliamentary election is due in the middle of 2022.

Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Jon Boyle, Chizu Nomiyama, William Maclean