Crisis puts paid to Slovenia's conservative government

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Crisis puts paid to Slovenia's conservative government

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Slovenia has dismissed its conservative-led government and appointed an anti-austerity financial expert as its first female prime minister.

Alenka Bratusek replaces conservative leader Janez Jansa with a mandate to form a new cabinet.

It comes as the Alpine country struggles to avoid a bailout as it tackles its worst crisis in 22 years of independence.

Parliament voted 55 to 33 to dismiss the year-old coalition government. During the debate the 42-year-old centre-left leader quoted a Nobel economics laureate in likening more austerity to “medieval medicine”.

She said her new government’s priority would be growth and employment.

Jansa’s coalition partners had gradually abandoned him this year over a property scandal. He denies any wrongdoing.

The former Yugoslav country had the fastest growing economy in the eurozone when it joined the single currency six years ago.

But the economic downturn ravaged Slovenia’s export market, while billions of euros’ worth of toxic loans did the same to its banks.

It may be hard pushed to repay two billion euros of debt this year.