Monday, March 04, 2013

Austerity claims another government

Something I missed: last week, Slovenia's government fell over corruption and austerity:

Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Jansa was ousted from office in a no-confidence vote on Wednesday (28 February) amid economic gloom compounded by persistent allegations of corruption.

The tiny Alpine ex-Yugoslav republic is beset by an economic crisis, a banking system in shambles, and an unemployment rate of just over 12 percent.


The scandals and the economic problems have since caught up with Jansa’s minority government as junior coalition partners, the centre-right Civic List and pensioners' party Desus, abandoned the pro-austerity party bloc.

The state’s anti-graft watchdog accused Jansa of hiding away €210,000 of personal assets to avoid paying tax. In early February, some 20,000 took to the streets to protest the political corruption, rising unemployment, and erosion of social benefits.

The scandal also took down the leader of the opposition, and the new PM-designate, Alenka Bratusek, is anti-austerity. The question is whether she can put together a government which will back that policy. The other question is whether she will be allowed to let Slovenia's crooked banks fail, or whether the EU will force her to socialise their losses onto the Slovenian people, while the bankers laugh all the way to Switzerland.