Social Democrat tapped to lead Slovenia in tougher times

Other News Materials 3 November 2008 20:18 (UTC +04:00)

Slovenian centre-left leader Borut Pahor was formally tapped as prime minister-elect Monday and pledged to focus on the economy as the tiny European Union nation faces tougher times, reported dpa.

Pahor's Social Democrats won the most votes in September 21 parliamentary elections and were expected to lead a four-party coalition government with 55 seats in the 90-member parliament.

Pahor, speaking after President Danilo Tuerk formally nominated him to head the next government, pledged to work to stabilize the economy.

He said that Slovenia, a member of the eurozone, needs a strong state that creates conditions for prosperity and fair distribution of wealth, the state news agency STA reported.

But he has also warned he will consider unpopular measures if Slovenia's competitiveness is at stake.

A nation of 2 million that escaped most of the bloodshed of Yugoslavia's breakup, Slovenia is poised for lower growth as Europe's big economies - its main market - weaken.

After a projected expansion of 4.4 per cent this year, growth will drop to 2.9 per cent in 2009, a European Union forecast said Monday.

Analysts say the construction industry and auto parts makers will be hardest-hit in the slowdown.

Slovenia's inflation rate, which ran around 6 per cent this year and helped weaken outgoing Prime Minister Janez Jansa's centre-right government, is expected to fall to 3.7 per cent next year, the EU report said.

Parliament is expected to vote Friday on Pahor's confirmation as prime minister.