June 15, 2018 / 1:13 PM / 10 months ago

Slovenian parliament to convene on June 22 as coalition talks continue

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia’s newly elected parliament will hold its first session on June 22, President Borut Pahor declared on Friday, as parties continue to seek to form a governing coalition after elections on June 3.

The parliament is due to elect the parliamentary speaker at its first session while coalition talks are likely to continue for weeks.

Pahor has said he will nominate the head of the largest party, Janez Jansa, for the post of the prime minister in early July, providing Pahor’s talks with parliamentary parties show Jansa could muster a majority in parliament.

Jansa’s center-right anti-immigrant Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) holds 25 out of 90 seats in parliament but lacks potential coalition partners as most parties had said they would not go into a coalition with the SDS.

Jansa had said he would not accept the nomination if he fails to secure a parliamentary majority which is needed to confirm him as prime minister and later his cabinet.

The SDS will within a week prepare the starting points of a coalition agreement and then send them to other parties, spokeswoman Klavdija Operckal told Reuters.

Meanwhile the second largest party, the center-left List of Marjan Sarec (LMS), which holds 13 parliamentary seats and says it will not go into a coalition with the SDS, is holding informal coalition talks.

“Next week we plan meetings with the (left-wing) Left and the (right-wing) Slovenian Nationalist Party about possible cooperation,” LMS spokeswoman Nika Vrhovnik said, adding that LMS has already held talks with all other parliamentary parties apart from the SDS.

Nine parties managed to get into the highly fragmented parliament which means that any government coalition would have to include at least three parties to secure a majority.

“At present it seems most likely that we will get a center-left government but coalition talks could last weeks and other coalition options cannot be excluded for now,” Borut Hocevar, an analyst at daily Finance, told Reuters.

One of the first tasks of the new government will be to start the sale of the country’s largest bank, Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), as Slovenia agreed to sell the state bank in exchange for the European Commission’s 2013 approval of state aid to NLB.

The new parliament will in the coming months also have to confirm a new central bank governor who will sit on the ECB’s governing council after the previous governor, Bostjan Jazbec, resigned in April to take a position on the EU’s Single Resolution Board.

Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Toby Chopra

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