Slovenia suffers crisis and corruption

Difficult term for new president Pahor

10 December, 13:00

    (ANSAmed) - LJUBLJANA, DECEMBER 10 - Slovenia is not a happy country anymore. Hailed until a few years ago as a model state and the most economically advanced among former Communist European countries, the small ex Yugoslav nation is suffering a crisis which has cut off its certainties. Today the country is often described as the new sick member of Europe which could seek a European bailout with its recession, insolvent banks, a public debt which has hit 50% of GDP and unemployment over 10%.

    The crisis has had a significant impact on the population with an increasing number of protests across the country as angry citizens are also tired of making sacrifices amid growing political corruption.

    The protest served as the backdrop of presidential elections won in a ballot vote Sunday by former Social Democratic premier Borut Pahor who beat outgoing president Danilo Turk. And it led first of all to the resignation of Fran Kangler, mayor of Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city, over allegations of corruption and nepotism.

    The social mobilization on the web ahead of the resignation made Maribor, an internationally popular ski resort, a symbol of the dissatisfaction of Slovenians.

    'The case of the mayor's corruption was the last drop' for the population, an analyst was quoted as saying by the Vecer daily. Social dissatisfaction, he said, has been going on for a while 'fed by high unemployment rates, the increasing number of companies forced to close and the indifference towards several cases of corruption'.

    The austerity measures implemented by the conservative government of Janez Jansa to avoid the country's bankruptcy did the rest as the population is increasingly deluded with politics. Only 42% voted Sunday in the second round of presidential elections, the lowest turnout since Slovenia achieved independence in 1991.

    'I hope my victory can be a new start for Slovenia and give new hopes to all', said Pahor right after being elected president. Pahor means to work with the conservative government to reduce the country's debt. But it will not be easy also because Slovenians who have seen their life improved in the last few years, are having a hard time to get used to salary cuts and austerity measures without seeing better prospects ahead.


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