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Slovenia ponders painful reform in general election

Slovenia ponders painful reform in general election
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Once the fastest growing euro zone member, Slovenia is struggling badly with the impact of the crisis as it goes to the polls.

The small Alpine country’s economy has again been shrinking, unemployment is rising and it faces a potential credit rating downgrade.

Opinion polls suggest former prime minister Janez Jansa is well placed for a return to office. His centre-right opposition is promising to cut the budget deficit, create jobs and raise the retirement age – currently among the lowest in the EU at 57 for women and 58 for men.

The centre-left government fell in September after losing its majority. It is now led by Ljubljana mayor Zoran Jankovic, who is seen as Jansa’s closest challenger for the post of prime minister. He opposes privatisation and plans a rise in VAT.

Slovenia was seen as a model of transition from communism to capitalism. But its export-driven economy is threatened with recession and an ageing population poses a major challenge for the future.