Political turmoil could endanger afragile recoveryin economically troubled Slovenia after the surprise ouster of PrimeMinister Alenka Bratusek within her own party, warned a leadingbusiness organization Saturday, according to dpa.Bratusek, 44, lost a vote of support by members of her PositiveSlovenia (PS) party, the majority of whom plumped for PS founder andformer premier, Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovic, who said she had tooregularly caved in to pressure from junior coalition partners.The change was almost certain to bring about snap elections, thoughJankovic said that Bratusek should carry on as prime minister. She isexpected to announce her decision on Tuesday, the STA newsagency reported.However, following her loss, she said she could not continue, as themove put her on unequal footing with the other three leaders in hercoalition.The other leaders agreed to form the government under Bratusek's lead13 months ago after Jankovic, burdened by corruption allegations,stepped down as the PS leader.At least one of the junior partners, Interior Minister GregorVirant's of Citizen's List (DL), said his party wants to resolve thesituation with early elections.In that case, "practically everything in the country will be at a
standstill for at least a few months," the head of the SlovenianChamber of Commerce (GSZ) Hribar Milic told the STA news agency."Any instability is unpleasant for business. We've been struggling toput the crisis behind us for six years, because we have politicalinstability. Yesterday's change will only make that worse,"Milic said.Slovenia's export-drive economy has been hit hard by the globalcrisis and has been in recession since 2009.Reforms to curb spending to a sustainable level and clean out thetainted banking system not only saved Slovenia from seeking a bailoutfrom the European Union, but led to brighter economic projections andexpectations of a surprisingly robust recovery.According to revised central bank forecasts, the Slovenian economywill grow by 0.6 per cent in 2013, instead of contracting by 0.7 percent. The trend was expected to continue into the next two years,with growth rates of 1.4 and 1.7 per cent, respectively.The recovery, however, remains fragile. The clean-up of the banks hascost billions of dollars and has driven the 2013 deficit up to 14.7per cent of gross domestic product.A plan to cover part of the deficit with a property tax was knockeddown by the Constitutional Court. Bratusek's cabinet came out with
additional measures, including a hike of excise taxes on petrol,alcohol and tobacco, to limit the damage.Much more needs to be done urgently, but that may be impossible ifthe government falls and parties turn to election campaign.
Stalled reforms would directly hit businesses and may again start adownward spiral."If the government falls, we will face higher financingcosts, reduced ... foreign investment and an erosion ofcompetitiveness," the Managers' Association of Slovenia warned."The economy neither wants nor needs that," it added in a statement.