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Month: January, 2012

Centre-Right Government for Slovenia

Five Slovenian parties have agreed to form a government following drawn-out coalition negotiations.  The December 4th elections produced a surprise victory for Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovic’s Positive Slovenia party.  However, he failed to form a government after his coalition was rejected by parliament on 11th January.

There were no such problems yesterday: the new coalition was supported by 50 of Slovenia’s 90 members, a comfortable majority which should enable the government to push through tough austerity measures.  However, there is considerable ideological variation within the coalition, which brings together four centre right parties (SDS, SLS, Virant List and New Slovenia) with the centre-left pensioners’ party DeSUS.  The Virant List is keen to reign in public spending, while DeSUS have resisted cuts in pensions.

Slovenia’s previous government fell when a referendum in June 2011 rejected proposals to gradually raise the retirement age from 57 (58 for men) to 65.  DeSUS left the coalition early.  Since then, the small nation’s economic problems have worsened, with the EBRD predicting that the economy will contract by 1.1% in the coming year.


Yavlinksy Denied Chance to Run in Russian Elections

Grigory Yavlinsky, a veteran of liberal politics in Russia, will be denied the opportunity to run in Russia’s March presidential election.  In order to take part in the elections, Yavlinksy is required by law to collect two million signatures.  However, Russia’s Central Election Commission has declared that 25.66 percent of Yavlinsky’s signatures are invalid.

Denying registration to candidates on the grounds of faulty signatures has been a commonly-used method of suppressing the Russian opposition during the Putin era.  The exclusion of Yavlinksy from the ballot suggests that Putin will be giving no ground to pro-democracy protestors as the March 4th election approaches.  Proposals to re-introduce gubernatorial elections, made by out-going president Dmitri Medvedev in the wake of mass protests, are also being kicked into the long grass.