Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Zoran Jankovic, the mayor of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, won a surprise victory in a snap election, overcoming the lead of the opposition leader, Janez Jansa, an early exit polls shows.
The party of Jankovic, a former chief executive of retailer Mercator Poslovni Sistem d.d., had 29.1 percent, while Jansa’s Slovenian Democratic Party took 26.5 percent, TV Slovenija reported, citing an exit poll by Mediana agency. Jansa was expected to top all other parties, according to the last opinion survey published on Dec. 2.
The election was called after Pahor was ousted in a no- confidence vote in September triggered by coalition disputes over pension changes. Borrowing costs surged after voters rejected the extension of the retirement age, while austerity measures in Europe weaken demand for its exports and public debt will widen to more than 50 percent next year.
“It’s urgent to ease the credit crunch, adopt measures to spur the economy and start a social dialogue in order to adopt changes in the pension and health systems,” Jankovic said in e- mailed response to questions before today’s vote. “Serious work in these fields will be a clear signal to the financial markets that we have embarked on solving our problems.”
Parties are vying for 88 seats in the 90-member assembly as two seats are reserves for representatives of the Italian and Hungarian minorities. The winner of the vote is likely to seek coalition partners to gain more than a 45-seat majority. The electoral commission will release unofficial results of the vote later tonight.
Jankovic will need to tackle the worsening fiscal outlook and the faltering economy as European Union leaders German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy muster support for closer economic integration and tougher policing of fiscal rules.
Slovenia’s public debt more than doubled in four years and is estimated by the European Commission to surpass the 50 percent level next year.
The country, which had its credit rating cut by one level to AA- by Standard’s and Poor and other ratings services, plans to raise 1 billion euros in a Treasury bill auction on Dec. 6. If that fails, the Finance Ministry said it may opt to sell bonds in the U.S., Japanese or Swiss debt markets .Yields on
Slovenia’s 10 year bonds surged to 7.77 percent on Nov. 11 after two days earlier Italian benchmark notes gained past the 7 percent mark. Pressure on the yield of most euro-region nations, including Slovenia’s, eased after central banks moved to improve dollar liquidity.
The export-driven economy shrank an annual 0.5 percent in the third quarter from a year before following growth of 0.8 percent in the previous three-month period.
The risk of recession “has risen greatly,” Michal Dybula, an economist at BNP Paribas in Warsaw wrote in a Nov. 29 note to clients.
--Editor: James M. Gomez
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