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10/12/2016

Bratušek faces Slovenian court for nominating herself a candidate for Commissioner

Elections

Bratušek faces Slovenian court for nominating herself a candidate for Commissioner

Alenka Bratušek during her unsuccessful hearing. [European Parliament]

Slovenian police raided the home of ex-prime minister Alenka Bratušek yesterday (11 March) in search of evidence that she might have abused her position when her cabinet nominated her last year as a candidate for European commissioner.

Slovenia’s first woman prime minister, Bratušek steered the tiny ex-Yugoslav republic in 2013-14 through its worst financial crisis since winning independence from Belgrade in 1991.

The police told Reuters a total of 27 policemen searched Bratušek’s home and the offices of her party, the Alliance of Alenka Bratušek, in an investigation which started early in the morning and continued in the afternoon.

Last year, Bratušek’s centre-left government nominated her as one of three candidates to become Slovenia’s member of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm. She withdrew her candidacy after members of the European Parliament rejected her following a parliamentary hearing.

>> Read: Bratušek’s poor showing adds to Juncker’s worries

The police said Bratušek had no material gain from her candidacy, but said she may have “misused her official position”. If found guilty, she could be jailed for up to one year.

Bratušek said the investigation at her home was “entirely unnecessary” since all documents about her nomination had been held by the Anti-Corruption Commission for some time.

Last October, the Commission said Bratušek should not have voted on her own candidacy, but took the matter no further.

In December 2013, Bratušek’s administration recapitalised local banks that were sinking under a tide of bad loans by pouring in more than €3 billion of its own funds.

This enabled Slovenia, a eurozone member, to narrowly avoid an international bailout.

>> Read: Slovenia self-inflicts austerity plan to avoid bailout

Several months later, Bratušek quit her post after losing a battle for the leadership of the ruling Positive Slovenia party. She formed her own party, which won four seats in parliament in a July snap election.