Slovenia PM formally resigns post

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — Slovenia's prime minister has resigned and is urging early elections in the small EU nation next month, which is grappling with an acute banking crisis.

Alenka Bratusek handed in her resignation Monday to the parliament's speaker after losing the leadership of her party. The 44-year-old financial expert has steered the country, which is one of 18 European Union countries that uses the euro, through the region's debt crisis but resigned after losing the leadership of her Positive Slovenia party to Mayor Zoran Jankovic of Ljubljana, the country's capital.

Lawmakers must convene to acknowledge the resignation and the country's president will then have 30 days to appoint a new prime minister, or lawmakers can try to thrash out a new government. However, coalition partners have threatened to leave the government because Jankovic faces a corruption probe.

Bratusek has said snap legislative elections in June would be the best way forward. "Citizens should decide who will lead the government," Bratusek wrote on her Facebook profile. "It is the only right solution."

Her center-left government has cut public spending and helped shore up its ailing banks. However, more economic reforms lie ahead before Slovenia can safely say it has got its economy back into shape.

Bad bank loans are at the center of the crisis in the Alpine nation, which was once considered a model as to how to transition a centralized East European economy to the free market.

Jovana Gec contributed from Belgrade, Serbia.

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