Slovenia Ex-Premier Wins Presidency as Recession Deepens
Borut Pahor, Slovenia’s former prime minister, won the presidential election in the euro-region nation that is fighting its second recession in three years.
Pahor got 67 percent of the vote in the second round of elections while the incumbent Danilo Turk received 32 percent of support, the state electoral commission said on its website late yesterday.
“I received an immense political support,” Pahor, 49, said after the results were announced. “With all colossal troubles we are faced with, I know there must also be an exit as we all work together. Our troubles can be bridged.”
Pahor, whose government was toppled last year after a rejection of pension changes in a referendum, will take the ceremonial role in the Adriatic nation that is working to avoid an international bailout for its banking industry as its economy shrinks on depressed demand for its exports in Europe.
Gross domestic product contracted an annual 3.3 percent in the third quarter, compared with 3.2 percent in the previous three-month period. The economy, set to shrink the most in the 17-member euro region after Greece and Portugal this year according to the European Commission report, will recover in 2014, the International Monetary Fund said last month.
“Pahor can contribute positively to the tense atmosphere of political uncertainty as an advocate of a grand deal between the government and the opposition on a limited list of main crisis-tackling tasks,” said Andraz Grahek, a Ljubljana-based economist. “I also believe the protest movement is putting welcome pressure on the politicians to stop the tug of war and get to serious work.”
Protests erupted in the capital of Ljubljana on Nov. 30, when several policemen were injured and more than 30 people arrested during a peaceful demonstration against the ruling elite. This followed a protest against Franc Kangler, the mayor of Maribor, Slovenia’s second biggest city. More protests around the country are planned for today.
“The result has somewhat eased tensions,” Prime Minister Janez Jansa said yesterday.
Slovenia saw its borrowing costs on the benchmark $2.25, 10-year bond sold last month surged to a record 5.7077 percent on Nov. 19 as a threat of a referendum emerged on the government’s plan to re-capitalize the bank industry.
Pahor, who then acted as the parliamentary speaker in Slovenia, signaled he may support the overhaul of the economy pushed by Jansa’s government. The administration is working on a bank recapitalization plan, the creation of a wealth fund and other measures to spur economic growth and win back investors’ confidence.
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