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Slovenia - Government

According to the Constitution, Slovenia is a democratic republic and a social state governed by law. The state`s authority is based on the principle of the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers, with a parliamentary system of government. Power is held by the people, and they exercise this power directly (through referendums and popular initiatives) and through elections. The highest legislative authority is the National Assembly (90 deputies), which has the right to enact laws.

As the Constitution states, Slovenia is a state of all its citizens, and is founded on the permanent and inalienable right of the Slovenian nation to self-determination. It rests on the foundations of the legal system, which is based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, on the principle of a legal and socially just state.

The Constitution also contains special rights for the Hungarian, Italian and Roma ethnic communities. The Constitution, as the state`s supreme law, can be amended following a proposal from twenty National Assembly deputies, by the Government, or by at least 30,000 voters. Such proposals are decided by the National Assembly, with a two-thirds majority vote of deputies, and a two-thirds majority vote being needed for the passage of amendments. The National Assembly is required to submit a proposed constitutional amendment to a referendum, if so requested by at least 30 deputies.

Since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia has instituted a stable, multi-party, democratic political system, characterized by regular elections, a free press, and an excellent human rights record. Slovenia is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional republic. Within its government, power is shared between a directly elected president, a prime minister, and a bicameral legislature (Parliament). Parliament is composed of the 90-member National Assembly -- which takes the lead on virtually all legislative issues -- and the National Council, a largely advisory body composed of representatives from social, economic, professional, and local interests. The Constitutional Court has the highest power of review of legislation to ensure its consistency with Slovenia's constitution. Its nine judges are elected by the National Assembly for a single 9-year term.

According to the Constitution, the right to vote is universal and equal. Every citizen who has attained the age of eighteen years has the right to vote and stand for office. Voting is not compulsory and abstention is not sanctioned. In 1992, the turnout in the legislative elections was 85.6%, followed by 73.7% in 1996, 70.14% in 2000, 60.6% in 2004, 63.10% in 2008 and 65,60 % in 2011. The voting trends correspond to those in most Western democracies.

The deputies of the National Assembly, with the exception of the two representatives of minorities, are elected by proportional representation, with a four per cent electoral threshold required at the national level. The country is divided into eight territorial constituencies, each represented by eleven elected deputies. For the elections of the representatives of the Italian and Hungarian ethnic communities, two special constituencies are formed, one for each minority. The deputies representing the minorities are elected on the basis of the majority principle. Members of the National Council who represent social, economic, professional and local interests are elected indirectly.

The President of the Republic and Mayors are elected in direct elections on the basis of an absolute majority. The candidate receiving the majority of valid votes is elected President. If no candidate receives an outright majority in the first round, there is a second round of voting for the two candidates who received the most votes in the first ballot.

Since independence in 1991, Slovenia has made tremendous progress establishing democratic institutions, enshrining respect for human rights, establishing a market economy, and adapting its military to Western norms and standards. In contrast to its southern neighbors, civil tranquility has marked this period, with strong economic growth for much of that time. Upon achieving independence, Slovenia offered citizenship to all residents, regardless of ethnicity or origin, avoiding a sectarian trap that has caught out many central European countries. However, debate continued on how best to accommodate an estimated 25,000 undocumented non-Slovenes who were resident in Slovenia at the time of independence, but whose records were "erased" when they did not take citizenship. Many in this group regularized their status or left the country; however, it was estimated that around 4,000 cases remained unresolved. In March 2010, Parliament passed a law granting permanent residency status to those 4,000 that is retroactive to the date of erasure (February 1992). Slovenia willingly accepted nearly 100,000 refugees from the fighting in Bosnia and has since participated in international stabilization efforts in the region.

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The President of the Republic represents the Republic of Slovenia and is the commander-in-chief of its armed forces. The President calls general elections, promulgates laws, nominates candidates for Prime Minister to the National Assembly following talks with the leaders of deputy groups, candidates for judges of the Constitutional Court and members of the Court of Audit, appoints and recalls ambassadors, accepts the credentials of foreign diplomats, grants clemencies, etc. The President has no influence over the composition of the government, which is the task of the Prime Minister and the National Assembly. The President of the Republic is elected for a five-year term in direct general elections by secret ballot. A President may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.

The Slovenian Parliament is bicameral, composed of the National Assembly and the National Council . The Slovenian Parliament is characterized by an asymmetric duality, as the Constitution does not accord equal powers to both chambers. The National Assembly is comprised of ninety deputies, with one representative of each of the Hungarian and Italian minorities. The deputies are elected for a four-year term; they represent all the people of Slovenia and are "not bound by any instructions" (Article 82 of the Constitution). The National Assembly exercises legislative, voting and monitoring functions. As a legislative authority, it enacts constitutional amendments, laws, national programmes, resolutions, etc. It also creates its own internal rules, ratifies the state budget and treaties, and calls referendums.

As a voting body the National Assembly elects the Prime Minister and other ministers, the President of the National Assembly and up to three Vice-Presidents. On the recommendation of the President, it also elects judges to the Constitutional Court, the Governor of the Bank of Slovenia, the Ombudsman, etc. Compared to other bicameral systems, the voting power of the Slovenian lower house is exercised over a wider range of issues. The monitoring function of the National Assembly includes the setting up of parliamentary enquiries, votes of no confidence in the government or ministers, and constitutional proceedings against the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister or ministers in the Constitutional Court.

The National Council is unusual among the political systems of Western democracies, as its composition reflects the principle of corporate representation. It consists of forty members, who serve a term of five years. The National Council may propose laws to the National Assembly, and has an advisory role. It may demand that the National Assembly review decisions on legislation prior to its promulgation (suspensive veto). It also may demand the commissioning of a parliamentary inquiry, which along with its right to a suspensive veto enables corrective measures important for the functioning of a democratic political system.

The Government consists of the Prime Minister and other ministers. The Government and the ministers are independent within the framework of their jurisdiction, and responsible to the National Assembly. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia (RS) is the executive body and, at the same time, the supreme body of the state administration. Thus the function of the Government is twofold: executive-political and administrative. Its executive-political function involves mainly the execution of policies agreed by the National Assembly and the implementation of the laws and other regulations passed by the National Assembly. In accordance with the constitution and with the laws and other general acts of the National Assembly, the Government sets, directs and harmonises the implementation of state policies. As the highest body of the state administration, it issues regulations and passes legal, political, economic, financial, organisational and other measures, which are needed for the development of the state and the regulation of conditions in all the areas of the states jurisdiction.

The Government proposes legislation, the state budget, national programmes and other general acts with which it determines the fundamental and long-term political direction of individual areas of state jurisdiction.

In EU affairs the Government represents the RS and advances the country's views in EU institutions. In respect of EU affairs the Government is independent and is answerable in performing its functions within the framework of the Constitution, the law regulating the position and operation of the Government, and the law regulating cooperation between the National Assembly and the Government in EU affairs. The Government issues regulations and other acts within its jurisdiction for implementing EU regulations.

The task of the judiciary is to decide on the rights and duties of citizens, and charges brought against them. All courts in the Republic of Slovenia are regular courts, and act in accordance with the principles of constitutionality, independence and the rule of law. The unified system of courts consists of courts with general and specialised jurisdiction. Courts with general jurisdiction include 44 district, 11 regional, and 4 higher courts, and the Supreme Court, while specialised courts comprise 4 labour courts and a social court (they rule on labour-related and social insurance disputes), and the Administrative Court, which provides legal protection in administrative affairs and has the status of a higher court. The state prosecution holds a special place in the justice system, as it is an independent state authority, but also part of the executive branch of power. The General State Prosecutor is appointed by the National Assembly.

Slovenia has a long tradition of regionalism and local self-government. The Local Self-Government Act stipulates that a municipality is the basic self-governing local community, with at least 5,000 inhabitants; an urban municipality has at least 20,000 inhabitants.





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Page last modified: 22-10-2017 19:28:28 ZULU