LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenian President Borut Pahor nominated a reformist economist for the post of central bank governor on Friday, after lawmakers rejected his first choice for the job last month.
Bostjan Vasle, the outgoing head of the government’s macroeconomic institute UMAR, will also take up a seat on the European Central Bank governing council if confirmed by parliament as central bank chief. Lawmakers will cast a secret ballot on Vasle’s candidacy within 30 days.
Slovenia’s banking sector has been plagued by allegations of money laundering since it came close to seeking an international bailout in 2013. Parliament rejected Pahor’s first candidate, Deputy Governor Primoz Dolenc, with several parties saying the bank failed to supervise lenders adequately during his tenure.
The president’s office said he was confident his new choice would win confirmation.
“After a number of official and unofficial talks with leaders of parliamentary groups, the president established that Bostjan Vasle enjoys the necessary support of parliamentary members,” the office said.
In a statement, Vasle said he was “very honoured and satisfied” because of the nomination and expects to have sufficient support in parliament to be confirmed. He will appear at a public hearing on December 6, the president’s office said.
Vasle, 49, has headed UMAR since 2007, and was replaced there by his deputy Maja Bednas on Thursday. He studied at Ljubljana’s Faculty of Economics and the Central European University in Budapest. Prior to UMAR he worked at the finance ministry and the government’s development office.
The new governor will replace Bostjan Jazbec, who resigned in April to take a post on the EU’s Single Resolution Board. His deputy Dolenc has run the central bank in an acting capacity since then, but Slovenia’s spot on the ECB board has remained vacant.
At the helm of UMAR, Vasle urged the government to introduce structural reforms, particularly pension reform, to ease the burden of the rapidly ageing population on the state budget and ensure long-term economic growth.
Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Peter Graff