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Slovenia's ruling coalition loses support of Left party

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia’s centre-left minority government on Wednesday lost the support of the opposition Left party, in a move that analysts said could eventually lead to an election before 2022.

The Left party agreed in March to back the government’s main projects, but said it had decided on Wednesday to break off cooperation after the five parties in the coalition government refused to support its proposal that would cancel the system of additional health insurance.

Most Slovenians have to pay the insurance on top of paying into the national health insurance scheme.

“From now on the Left is fully in the opposition,” the coordinator of the Left Luka Mesec told reporters.

The governing coalition holds only 43 out of 90 seats in parliament and was relying on the Left with nine seats to ensure majority support for its projects.

Analysts said the move will force the government to seek support among centre-right opposition parties, which could result in more conflicts inside the coalition and might eventually lead to an early election. The next scheduled election is due in the middle of 2022.

“The minority government will now find it even harder to ensure support for any significant reforms,” said Meta Roglic, a political analyst of daily Dnevnik, referring to health and pension reforms.

Slovenia has an inefficient national health system and is also burdened by a rapidly ageing population. The International Monetary Fund and the European Commission have urged the government to introduce pension reforms as soon as possible.

Prime Minister Marjan Sarec told reporters that his plan was for the government “to work till the end” of its mandate and said his party was ready to seek compromises which are necessary in politics.

Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Susan Fenton