STA, 16 February - Alenka Bratušek was unanimously re-elected to lead the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), as more than 200 delegates got together for an electoral congress in Ljubljana on Saturday, four and a half years after the party was established. She was the only candidate for the post.
Addressing the delegates before the vote, Bratušek said the packed Old Power Station was proof the SAB was there to stay after it had already made a mark in politics.
"We're proud of our achievements ... nothing was given to us, what is more, many have tried to undermine us. That's why we are still here and even stronger."
She also reiterated the coalition party would insist on the government taking measures to improve the pensioners' financial standing and the situation in healthcare.
The party, which has three ministers and five MPs, will also push for improving the situation in public education, for a successful economy and human rights.
Bratušek said that as party president she "will always put first the state, people and our common goals which will make Slovenia a better place".
She recalled the time when she entered politics, including when she took over as prime minister (March 2013-September 2014) at the time of the deepest economic crisis.
Thanking all who had helped her and contributed to Slovenia's exiting the crisis, Bratušek could not avoid mentioning the massive bank bail-out in late 2013.
She admitted it had not been easy to decide to inject five billion euro into the banking system, "yet it was necessary if we wanted to avoid the troika and bankruptcy".
However, she was critical that those who had caused the massive bank shortfall had not yet been brought to justice.
She said those who should have been punished were now using the media to divert attention from the bank shortfall to those who had helped save the country.
"We're talking about those who solved the problem instead of those who became rich due to the bank shortfall or sank our flagship companies," she said.
The congress also elected four vice-president; MP Maša Kociper was re-elected and joined by Tatjana Voj, Slavko Šterman and Cohesion Minister Iztok Purič.
Marko Bandelli, who had had to step down as cohesion minister because of interference in the campaign for local elections last year, did not stand for re-election.
To support the fellow coalition party, senior representatives of three coalition parties attended the congress: SD leader Dejan Židan, and the SMC and LMŠ vice-presidents, Lilijana Kozlovič and Jerca Korče.
Židan recalled the times when Bratušek led the government, a member of which was also his Social Democrats (SD), noting they worked together during the hardest of times.
"We had the courage to rescue Slovenia, and this means we respect each other," said Židan.
Several of the speakers at the congress highlighted Bratušek's strong personality, notably her determination, self-confidence and courage, especially when had led the country.