Banker Voljč as Possible Alternative PM


Türk, whose first candidate Zoran Janković failed to muster sufficient support in parliament last week, told the press that several heads of parties had quizzed him on Monday about the possibility of an alternative candidate to Janković and Democrats (SDS) president Janez Janša.

He said he discussed the matter with Voljč on Tuesday and today and received the latter's nod for a bid, however under the condition that a consensus is formed among parties in support of such a step beforehand.

Türk, who had before been hinting at the possibility of again putting forward Janković of election winner Positive Slovenia (PS), said that Slovenia needed a credible prime minister, who is acclaimed and has the right credentials. He believes that 62-year-old Voljč is such a person.

The president said that Voljč was his own idea, which was the result of an extended thought process and of the the conclusion that "he is very competent when it comes to economic matters and capable of solving problems".

He said he had already called a new round of talks with parties, which are expected to reflect on the idea and present their views.

The proposal has so far only been welcomed by Janković, who said he would not seek nomination in the second round or a post in the government if Voljč becomes a candidate. He also told Türk he would not run a second time unless supporters in right-leaning parties make their support public before the second vote.

Janković moreover said that Türk's proposal would show whether all the parties that have been speaking about the need for the constitutional, two-thirds majority were sincere.

While the SocDems and the Virant List have not commented on the move yet, the proposal has been rejected by the SDS and New Slovenia (NSi), both part of the emerging right-leaning coalition, which also includes the Virant List, the People's Party (SLS) and potentially the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS).

The SDS said that given Slovenia's situation, the president's proposal cannot be taken seriously, while the NSi sees it as an attempt to divert attention from DeSUS and the Virant List deciding on joining a Janša-led government.

SLS head Radovan Žerjav said the party is focusing on the coalition agreement with Janša and would only consider other possibilities if the forming of a right-leaning government fails.

DeSUS president Karl Erjavec told the STA that the move would not affect DeSUS's decision, as Voljč "does not have the 46 votes by MPs" needed for appointment.

Voljč, NLB bank chairman between 1992 and 2004 and presently on the management board of Belgian banking group KBC, was already on verge of becoming prime minister in 1992 soon after Slovenia became independent.

After a career with the World Bank in Washington and Mexico from 1979 and 1992, Voljč won in 1992 115 of the 121 votes needed for appointment as PM in the Slovenian parliament, which had 240 members then.

He became the chairman of Slovenia's largest bank the same year to leave in 2004 and join the KBC group where he is presently a member of the management board and CEO for Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.