Bloomberg News

Ljubljana Mayor Joins Slovenia Election Race to Challenge Jansa

October 11, 2011

Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Zoran Jankovic, the mayor of Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana, will form his own party to compete in early elections in December, kicking off a battle for leadership in the euro region nation that is struggling to control public spending amid a debt crisis in Europe.

Jankovic, 58, the former chief executive officer of Mercator Poslovni Sistem d.d., will jump into the race immediately, he told reporters in Ljubljana today.

Jankovic will compete with Janez Jansa, a former Prime Minister and leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party which is ahead in opinion polls. The new government will have to tackle spending cuts and spur the export-driven economy as demand in Europe wanes and as the debt and banking crisis weigh on confidence.

“Jankovic’s candidacy would increase the choice for voters and like Jansa, he has a couple of weaknesses,” Ali Zerdin, a political analyst and editor at Delo newspaper in Ljubljana, said in an e-mail before the announcement. “The main question is, will Jankovic convince voters outside Ljubljana? On the positive side, he knows about more about balance sheets unlike many other politicians here.”

Jansa’s party will likely form the new government, according to a survey by Delo Stik after Prime Minister Borut Pahor’s administration was toppled on Sept. 20 following disagreements between coalition partners over the pension changes and an early vote.

Second in Poll

Jansa would get 16.7 percent of the vote, followed by Jankovic with a 4.9 percent support, while outgoing Prime Minister Borut Pahor is close behind with 4.8 percent, the polling company said on Oct. 7. The survey was carried out among 400 people. No margin of error was given.

Slovenia is headed for a “difficult period” as the banking industry struggles to find financing and the economy slows because of Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis, central bank Governor Marko Kranjec said on Oct. 4.

Seven Slovenian banks had their credit rating cut by Fitch Sept. 29 on poor asset quality and after the ratings service lowered the credit score of the euro region member by one level to AA- because of risk to the stability of the banking system and a worsening fiscal position. Moody’s also cut the country’s credit score on Sept. 23 one level to Aa3, the fourth-highest investment grade and warned another downgrade is possible.

--Editors: Douglas Lytle, Alan Crosby

To contact the reporter on this story: Boris Cerni in Ljubljana at bcerni@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net


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