Slovenia promises not to delay EU rescue fund

By Ali Zerdin

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 21 2011 7:25 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 21, 2008 file photo, Slovenia's new prime minister Borut Pahor, center, and newly appointed ministers pose at the parliament building in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Slovenia's left-leaning government was ousted in a confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday Sept. 20, 2011, pushing the small eurozone nation into further political instability during Europe's debt crisis.

Darko Bandic, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Slovenia's toppled government pledged Wednesday to keep working on ratifying a key European Union bailout fund for debt-strapped eurozone nations.

Slovenia's left-leaning government was ousted in a parliament confidence vote Tuesday, further complicating Europe's debt crisis as the small eurozone nation becomes politically unstable. It is to remain in office until a new government is chosen.

There are fears in Europe that a political deadlock may delay Slovenian approval of EU's rescue fund for troubled nations, known as the European Financial Stability Facility. The enlarged fund, which buys government bonds of shaky eurozone countries or lends money quickly to governments before they get into a full-blown crisis, has to be ratified by all 17 eurozone states to take force.

Slovenia's finance ministry said Wednesday that a legislative process to ratify the EFSF in the parliament has begun and that it hopes the bill will be adopted during a vote scheduled for Sept. 27.

European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen said in Brussels that "in this new situation, we do have full confidence in the democratic institutions of Slovenia to meet its obligations and fulfill its commitments."

Prime Minister Borut Pahor's government fell after months of disagreements between ruling coalition partners and several Cabinet resignations. The opposition had accused the minority government of corruption and mishandling the economy.

Slovenian President Danilo Turk is now to pick a new prime minister within seven days, who then has 30 days to form a new government. If this fails, early elections are called, probably in December.

Turk, who is attending the U.N. General Assembly in New York, is returning to Slovenia early to deal with the crisis.

"I regret that problems in Slovenia have spread to such degree," he said. "I urge all political actors to act wisely, and find a solution as fast as possible."

Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade contributed.

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