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Eastern Europe

Slovenian parliament endorses law professor Miro Cerar as PM

Slovenia's parliament has voted for law professor Miro Cerar as the country's new prime minister. He will face the challenge of boosting Slovenia's fragile economy while cutting public spending.

Center-left law professor Miro Cerar received parliamentary endorsement as Slovenia's new prime minister on Monday.

The parliament voted 51-11 in favor of Cerar, a political novice whose center-left Party Miro Cerar (SMC) won the most seats in snap polls on July 13 after being established just five weeks earlier.

The elections were called in May when the former prime minister, Alenka Bratusek, resigned after losing a power struggle within her own party.

The 51-year-old Cerar now has 15 days to present his cabinet to parliament for approval. He is currently wrapping up coalition talks with the pensioners' party Desus and the center-left Social Democrats.

Together, the coalition would bring together 52 seats in the 90-seat legislature.

'Spiritual health'

Cerar has said he wants to improve the framework for business to boost employment, while at the same time establish what he has called a "spiritually and psycho-physically healthy society."

He has also hinted that he might scale back the country's privatization program, introduced as part of a bid to reduce the budget deficit. Slovenia has struck an agreement with the European Commission to cut the deficit to 3 percent of GDP from the some 4.2 percent seen this year. Both the other parties in the likely coalition oppose any large-scale sell-off of state assets.

Cerar also told parliament on Monday that he would take measures to strengthen the banking system, after the ex-Yugoslav republic narrowly avoided an international bailout last year.

tj/ng (dpa, Reuters)

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