Slovenia gov't faces budget, confidence vote

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — Slovenia's government is facing a confidence vote in the parliament in a test of its efforts to avoid seeking an international bailout.

Lawmakers are expected to support the government of Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek. The vote on Thursday is tied to a vote on 2014 budget, which has faced sharp criticism from the opposition. The center-left government plans higher taxes, spending cuts and privatization as the way to avoid bailout. The 2014 budget changes focus on real estate taxes.

The biggest challenge for Slovenia will be the results of a stress test for bad bank loans, which are expected in mid-December. Slovenia has allocated 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion) to support the banks, but analysts have warned the costs could be much higher.

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