Slovenia parliament meets to vote on new cabinet

Slovenia's parliament began debates Wednesday to confirm the new centre-left government headed by prime minister designate Alenka Bratusek.

The 13-member cabinet, which Bratusek announced last week, will likely be approved given her coalition's majority in parliament.

"Stability, confidence, growth and positive effects, that is the bottom line of our deal to form this government," Bratusek told lawmakers ahead of the vote, which was expected in the evening after a nine-hour debate.

Presenting the objectives of her four-party coalition, she announced an easing of the austerity measures implemented by outgoing prime minister Janez Jansa's centre-right government, ousted last month in a no-confidence vote.

"Slovenia is part of the European tale, but also part of the great European mistake, which says we can save ourselves and the world only through austerity," Bratusek told parliament, without giving further details about her programme however.

The 42-year-old former finance ministry official and leader of the centre-left Positive Slovenija (PS) party has already highlighted the country's dire banking problems -- which some say could necessitate a bailout -- as one of her main priorities.

Bratusek's coalition -- which includes two of Jansa's former allies, the centre-right Civil List (DL) and pensioners DESUS party, along with centre-left Social Democrats party (SD) -- holds 49 seats in the 90-seat parliament and can also count on the support of five other deputies.

Bratusek was appointed prime minister last month after Jansa's government lost a no-confidence vote in the wake of corruption allegations against him and and nationwide protests.

A model newcomer to the European Union in 2004 and the eurozone in 2007, Slovenia has been battling the worst economic and political crisis since independence in 1991, with the economy in recession, unemployment on the rise and a mountain of bad loans piling up in its banks.