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Lahovnik Believes New Economy Minister Up to the Task

Ljubljana, 16 July (STA) - Darja Radic, the newly-appointed economy minister, on Friday officially took over the duties from former Minister Matej Lahovnik, who said on the occasion that Radic was taking over a tough job. Both are however convinced that the new minister will be up to the task.

Radic, who so far served as Economy Ministry state secretary, was appointed today by 47 votes to 9 in parliament after Lahovnik resigned last week over differences with his party boss, Zares leader Gregor Golobic.

Radic, who is also a member of Zares, said she was continuing with the work she and Lahovnik had outlined a year and a half ago. She sees as an advantage the fact that she was "among the rare candidates who have completed apprenticeship for this post".

Radic's priorities as minister will be boosting development and competitiveness in business, promoting tourism and providing for stable and sustainable energy supply.

Lahovnik meanwhile stressed among his achievements during his stint the signing of an agreement on the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, with which "we put Slovenia on the global energy map".

He also pointed to Slovenia getting the seat of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), a boost in the phasing of the EU funds and an increase in the share of funding of technological restructuring of SMEs.

According to Lahovnik, an important achievement of his ministry is also restriction of manager pay in state-owned companies. He added he was the one who "requested considerably higher transparency in reprograming of loans used for management buyouts", which is an "important long-term measure".

While Lahovnik has the option of returning to the parliamentary benches, where his seat is currently filled by Alojz Posedel, he said he would return to the Ljubljana Faculty of Economics on 1 October.

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