BRATISLAVA, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Slovakia’s parliament approved the government’s nomination of Finance Minister Peter Kazimir as central bank’s next governor on Thursday.
Kazimir, a member of the ruling centre-left Smer party, said last month he was interested in taking the job after the current governor, Jozef Makuch, steps down in March.
In government since 2012, Kazimir, 50, has often taken a tough line similar to that of Germany on euro zone policies toward countries that fail to meet their fiscal commitments.
He has been a loyal ally of the Smer party chief Robert Fico and has won praise for narrowing the public finance deficit, targeted to fall to zero next year despite new welfare spending.
Critics, including Slovakia’s main fiscal watchdog, say he could have used strong economic growth, underpinned by a booming car sector, to push for a faster consolidation of public finances.
Kazimir, who will also become an ECB policymaker when he assumes office, graduated in foreign trade at the University of Economics in Bratislava and has had no experience in central banking.
He first joined politics when he became deputy finance minister in 2006-2010, helping oversee the country’s accession to the euro zone in January 2009.
Viewed as a pragmatic technocrat in Slovakia, he first sought to leave party politics last year when he unsuccessfully ran for chairman of the EU’s single currency club, the Eurogroup. He lost in that race to Portugal’s Mario Centeno.
The ruling coalition now commands the narrowest possible majority of 76 votes in the 150-seat parliament. Kazimir’s nomination was backed by 86 lawmakers.
He will become central bank governor after an official appointment by the president. (Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Alison Williams)