ECB Post Sought by Five New Applicants in Euro Member Slovenia

(Bloomberg) -- Slovenian President Borut Pahor received five applications for the post of central bank governor, who also sits on the European Central Bank’s Governing Council.

The tiny euro-area nation has had no clarity on who will represent it at the ECB since May, putting it alongside Latvia, whose governor is fighting bribery charges, and Slovakia, where Jozef Makuch said he might step down before his term ends.

The announcement of their bids comes after Pahor’s first nomination was rejected by lawmakers last month. The president will meet with party representatives on Nov. 7-8 before submitting his nomination to the assembly. For approval, ruling parties will have to agree and a candidate must get at least 46 votes in the 90-seat parliament.

Among the applicants were Igor Masten and Joze Damijan, both of whom are economists and professors at the University of Ljubljana. There were three other applicants -- Tomaz Toplak, Bostjan Vasle and Eva Lorencic -- but Pahor’s office did not provide any details on them. Masten and Damijan are seen as potential frontrunners.

Masten, 43, has spoken in favor of a 2013 taxpayer-funded bailout of the country’s largest state-owned banks. He has criticized a draft legislation that seeks to roll back losses dealt to individual investors when their shares and bonds were written down in the rescue, saying it would undermine the central bank’s independence.

Damijan, 51, who in 2005 briefly served as minister for growth in the conservative government of ex-Premier Janez Jansa, criticized the bailout for possible irregularities and asked for a thorough investigation in a blog post he wrote from 2015.

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