Slovenian opposition Social Democrats back new coalition

Slovenia's opposition Social Democrat party said Saturday it was ready to join a coalition led by prime minister designate Alenka Bratusek following a week of talks over the future government's programme.

"The SD has decided to join the government since we want to contribute constructively in shifting the direction of Slovenian politics," Igor Luksic, the head of the centre-left SD, said on Saturday.

He added that his party, with 10 members in the 90-seat parliament, was prepared to work with Bratusek's centre-left Positive Slovenia party (PS, with 27 seats) in "setting the foundations for boosting the economy and bringing experts into the government."

Last month the Slovenian parliament gave Bratusek the mandate to form a new government which would take over from outgoing centre-right prime minister Janez Jansa, accused of corruption by the eurozone country's anti-corruption watchdog.

Bratusek, who has to go back to parliament with a list of ministers by Thursday, has been in talks over a coalition with the opposition SD and former Jansa's coalition partners, the pensioners' DESUS party and centre-right Civil List (DL).

DESUS leader Karl Erjavec said his party, with five seats in parliament, would likely join the coalition, while DL leader Gregor Virant said during talks with Bratusek that his party " made no promises" and would only decide at a meeting on Wednesday.

In order to win a parliamentary majority, Bratusek's goverment needs the support of DL's seven MPs.

If coalition talks to form a new government fail, Slovenia could face early elections for the second time in less than two years.