Slovenian anti-graft body resigns, cites lack of political support

by Reuters
Friday, 29 November 2013 13:07 GMT

Protesters hold masks during an anti-austerity and anti-corruption protest in Ljubljana February 8, 2013 REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

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SLOVENIA-CORRUPTION/:Slovenian anti-graft body resigns, cites lack of political support

LJUBLJANA, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Slovenia's anti-corruption commission resigned on Friday, complaining of a lack of political support in parliament, STA news agency said, in a fresh blow to the ex-Yugoslav state's credibility as it tries to avoid an international bailout.

Commission vice-president Rok Praprotnik said it had asked parliament a year ago to increase the body's authority and to change anti-graft legislation, but to no avail.

"A secret alliance has been formed in parliament, which opposes these legislative changes," Praprotnik said.

"We have hit a wall we cannot breach," he added.

The resignation came after two cabinet ministers in Slovenia's four-party ruling coalition stepped down in the last two weeks.

Health Minister Tomaz Gantar resigned on Monday, saying he found it impossible to implement deep reforms in the public health system because of differing views in the government.

Last week, Economy Minister Stanko Stepisnik said he was leaving his post after media reported that his tool-making firm had received state financial aid and was competing for more.

The spate of resignations comes at a bad time for Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek's government, which is trying to overhaul Slovenia's struggling banks.

The results of stress tests should show next month the scale of bad loans at the banks and determine how much cash the government must inject to keep them afloat and whether it can do it alone or will need an international financial bailout.

The tiny Alpine republic was long hailed as a trail-blazer for ex-communist Eastern Europe and it was the fastest growing economy in the euro zone when it joined in 2007.

But the global financial crisis in 2008 crippled its exports and exposed successive governments' deep reluctance to carry out market reforms, privatise state assets and reduce the influence of politicians in banks and businesses.

(Reporting by Zoran Radosavljevic; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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