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Slovenia's parliament approves a new centre-left government

FILE PHOTO: Winner of Parliamentary elections Robert Golob addresses a news conference after an informal meeting with Slovenia's President Borut Pahor in Ljubljana, Slovenia, April 26, 2022. REUTERS/Borut Zivulovic

Slovenia's lawmakers approved a new centre-left government on Wednesday of Prime Minister Robert Golob, who leads a new party and replaced populist premier Janez Jansa promising to make people proud.

Fifty-three deputies in the 90-member parliament endorsed a government comprised of ministers from Golob's Freedom Movement party, Social Democrats and the Left, who formed a majority coalition after a national election last month in which Freedom Movement beat Jansa's SDS. Twenty-eight MPs voted against.

Golob, a former executive of a state-owned energy company, said that his 17-minister government will include experienced politicians and experts of whom seven will be women, the highest number in a government yet.

"We don't want a government that would need 100 days of peace because we know we won't have it," Golob told the parliament, referring to the situation in the world becoming increasingly tense.

He said priorities of the new government will be to improve the health and welfare systems, depoliticize the police, focus on green energy and increase media freedoms, among others.

The government includes former prime minister Marjan Sarec who will now serve as defence minister, and EU parliament member Tanja Fajon who is confirmed as foreign minister.

Fajon has said that she would rather see Slovenia getting closer to "core EU countries" such as Germany, France and Italy than with countries of the Visegrad Group, an alliance of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, which was preferred by former premier Jansa.

The new government will have its first session later on Wednesday following an official handover ceremony to Golob from Jansa.

(Reporting by Antonio Bronic in Ljubljana and Daria Sito-Sucic in Sarajevo; Editing by Grant McCool)

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