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Slovenia - Politics

Prime Ministerpartyterm
Lojze Peterle SKD 19901992
Dr Janez Drnovšek LDS 19922000
Dr Andrej Bajuk SLS+SKD SPP 2000
Dr Janez Drnovšek LDS 20002002
Anton Rop LDS 20022004
Janez Janša SDS 20042008
Borut Pahor SD 20082012
Janez Janša SDS10 Feb 2012 27 Feb 2013
Alenka Bratusek 27 Feb 2013 03 May 2014
Miro Cerar SMC18 Sep 2014

Religious and political extremism are very rare in Slovenia. With a homogeneous population of only two million people, Slovenian society and politics function on the basis of strong social networks that foster a culture of compromise, consensus, and centrism. Nevertheless, the same factors that work to make Slovenia a tightly-knit community also create insularity and suspicion towards foreigners, which at times borders on intolerance and xenophobia. The latter is manifested most noticeably with regards to the 0.2 percent of the population (roughly 3,500 people) who are Roma and, to a far lesser degree, the 2.4 percent of the population who are Muslim (roughly 50,000 people). Sitting on the crossroads of Western and Muslim civilization, Slovenia's Muslim community is well integrated into Slovenian society and has exhibited no overt manifestations of religious extremism.

At the end of March 1989, a general election with multiple candidates for president of the presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was held, albeit still organised by the Socialist Association of the Working People. The outcome was that the surprise winner, running against Marko Bulc, the government’s official candidate, was one Janez Drnovšek, a relatively unknown public figure at the time. In order to ensure increased sovereignty for the Republic, the Slovenian assembly adopted several amendments in September 1989. The Slovenian constitutional amendments were met by extreme opposition from the federal authorities and the leadership of the Yugoslav Communist Party, going to great lengths to prevent implementation.

In 1990, the first democratic elections took place and were won by the united opposition movement. Alojz Peterle forms the coalition Government (Executive Council of the Assembly), composed of Slovenian Democratic Union, Social Democratic Union of Slovenia, Slovenian Christian Democrats, Slovenian Farmers’ Association, the Slovenian Craftsmen's Party and the Greens of Slovenia - the DEMOS coalition (the government term ended on 14 May 1992). In the same year more than 88% of the electorate voted for a sovereign and independent Slovenia. Milan Kucan won the presidential seat in the second round with 58, 6 % of the vote. Jože Pucnik gets 41,4 % of the vote. Slovenia declared independence on 25 June 1991. A 10-day war ensued, following which the Yugoslav Army withdrew from Slovenia. The European Union recognised Slovenia in January 1992 and the UN accepted it as a member in May 1992.

In 1992 the Assembly removed the government of Alojz Peterle through a constructive vote of no confidence following increasing disagreements in the ruling coalition of Demos, consisting of parties established during the democratic changes. As a result Janez Drnovšek became the prime minister of a coalition government composed of Social Democratic Party of Slovenia, Democratic Party, Greens of Slovenia, Liberal Democrats of Slovenia, United list of Social Democrats and Socialist Party of Slovenia.

Janez Drnovsek served as the second Prime Minister of Slovenia from 1992 to 2002. He played a truly historic role in giving birth to a free and independent Slovenia, while avoiding the bloodshed and warfare that engulfed other nations as they seceded from the former Yugoslavia. A brilliant economist, he unleashed the entrepreneurial spirit of the Slovenian people and played a historic role in establishing his new nation as a robust democracy with one of the most successful economies in Central and Eastern Europe.

His party, LDS, won the elections in December 1992 and Milan Kucan, until then president of the presidency of Slovenia, was elected president of the republic. The government term ended on 25 January 1993. Janez Drnovšek formed his second government composed of Liberal Democrats of Slovenia (23,5% of the vote), Slovenian Christian Democrats (14,5% of the vote), United list of Social Democrats (13,6% of the vote) and Social Democratic Party of Slovenia (3,3% of the vote). The latest withdrew from the government in 1994 and United list of Social Democrats withdrew in 1996. The government term ended on 27 February 1997.

The ruling liberal democrats again became the strongest party in the parliament after the autumn 1996 parliamentary elections with six other parties crossing the threshold. Parliamentary elections took place, and the majority of the vote went to the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (27, 01%), following by Slovenian People's Party (19,38 %), Social Democratic Party of Slovenia (16,13%), Slovenian Christian Democrats (9,62%), United List of Social Democrats (9,03%), Democratic Party of Slovenian Pensioners (4,32%), Slovenian National Party (3,22% ).

Social Democratic Party of Slovenia and SLS+SKD Slovenian People's Party formed a coalition government led by Andrej Bajuk, after the third Drnovšek’s cabinet was toppled following a constructive no-confidence vote on 8 April 2000. Tthe government term ended on 30 November 2000.

On 07 June 2000 the third parliamentary elections since Slovenia's independence were won by the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia, which received 36,26 percent of the vote, while The Social Democratic Party of Slovenia attracted 15.8 % of the preliminary vote, the United List of Social Democrats of Slovenia 12.08 %, Slovenian People's Party 9,54%, the New Slovenia - Christian People's Party 8,66%, the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia 5,17%, the Slovenian National Party 4,39% and the Youth Party of Slovenia 4,34%.

The new government lasted only until parliamentary elections in the mid-October in which liberal democrats won by a landslide and Janez Drnovšek formed his fourth coalition government. Janez Drnovsek of the center-left Liberal Democratic Party (LDS) was reelected Prime Minister in the October 15, 2000 parliamentary elections. Drnovsek's coalition held an almost two-thirds majority in Parliament. In the October 2004 election, Janez Jansa became prime minister after his center-right Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) won a relative majority with over 29% of the vote. On 30 November 2000 Janez Drnovšek formed his fourth government composed of Liberal Democracy of Slovenia, United list of Social Democrats, Slovenian People's Party and Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia. The government term ended on 19 December 2000.

Slovenia's first President, Milan Kucan, concluded his second and final term in December 2002. Former Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek defeated opposition candidate Barbara Brezigar in the 2002 presidential elections by a comfortable margin and was inaugurated as Kucan's successor on December 22, 2002. Janez Drnovšek resigned as prime minister after being elected president and the parliament elected Anton Rop the new prime minister right before the year-end. The newly appointed government retained virtually all ministers from the previous team.

After 10 years in the opposition, Janez Jansa became Prime Minister in October 2004. For the first time, power transferred from the long-time center-left ruling coalition headed by the LDS to Jansa and his center-right collation led by the Slovene Democratic Party. Janez Jansa played a critical role from rallying Slovenian forces to face down Yugoslav National Armed forces in 1991 to leading it through its first years as a member of NATO and the EU. Jansa began his political career in the 1980's as a dissident and was at the center of the struggle for democracy. His activities landed him in detention and prison for six months, including a period in solitary confinement. His experiences seemed only to strengthen his resolve, and he helped to found the first opposition political party, the Slovene Democratic Alliance.

In 1990 he was elected to Parliament, and in May of that year he was named Minister of Defense. In 1994 he left government and went into the political opposition. Ten years later his party won a majority in Parliamentary elections and he was named Prime Minister. Since PM Jansa formed his government in December 2004, he did well in meeting many of his political goals including strengthening ties with the United States. His visit to Washington will be the culmination of 18 months of re-aligning the domestic and foreign policy of Slovenia towards a more expansive view of the trans-Atlantic relationship and how Slovenia can, and should, play an active role in NATO and other international fora.

Jansa's coalition was made up of four political parties, one of which represented a very narrow political base of pensioners and, other than Jansa's own Slovene Democratic Party (SDS), none of which enjoyed more than 4% of popular support as reported in recent polls. Nonetheless, since the coalition only held a one-seat majority in the parliament, each vote is important and even the smallest partner has the potential to scuttle important issues if provoked. Jansa blamed this somewhat tenuous political arrangement for some of the difficulties he had on economic reforms.

In November 2007 elections, Danilo Turk succeeded Janez Drnovsek as President of the Republic of Slovenia with 68% of the vote.

The 01 September 2008 Finnish TV program accusing PM Janez Jansa of accepting a bribe of up to 21 million euros in connection with the Slovenian Ministry of Defense 258 million euro deal to buy 135 Finnish Patria armored motorized vehicles (AMVs) has started a firestorm in Slovenia in the run-up to national elections on September 21. PM Jansa has repeatedly denied the accusations flat-out, attributing them to a pre-election smear campaign. While one might expect such explosive allegations to hurt Jansa politically, many Slovenes seemed to have the opposite reaction: they saw Jansa as a victim.

Parliamentary elections on 21 September 2008 brought a new center-left coalition to power, with Borut Pahor, head of the Social Democrats, replacing Jansa as prime minister in November 2008. The combined total of 45 percent for the center left parties, SD, Zares, and LDS, far exceeded the predictions of pre-election polls. Social Democrats get 30,45% of the vote, the Slovenian Democratic Party 29,26 %, the Zares party 9,37 %, the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia 7,45 %, the Slovenian National Party 5,40 %, the coalition of Slovenian People’s Party and the Youth Party of Slovenia 5,21 % and Liberal Democracy of Slovenia 5,21 %. The government and most of the Slovenian polity shared a common view of the desirability of a close association with the West, specifically of membership in both the EU and NATO. For all the apparent bitterness that divides left and right wings, there are few fundamental philosophical differences between them in the area of public policy. Slovenian society is built on consensus, which has converged on a social-democrat model. Political differences tend to have their roots in the roles that groups and individuals played during the years of communist rule and the struggle for independence.

In December 2011 Slovenia saw its first early parliamentary elections. A parliamentary vote was called in September 2011, after the Alpine state's minority center-left government was ousted in a no-confidence vote. That vote came amid poor economic recovery forecasts and disagreements between Prime Minister Borut Pahor's Social Democrats and junior coalition partners. Pre-election surveys predicted that the Slovenian Democratic Party of former prime minister Janez Jansa could win a full third of the votes in the country of two million. But analysts said he likely will need support from smaller parties to form a majority in the 90-seat parliament. Jansa was prime minister of the former Yugoslav republic from 2004 to 2008. He had promised to cut the country's huge public debt, which has risen to about 45 percent of its gross domestic product, and to address unemployment hovering at 12 percent.

On 05 December 2011, a new center-left party, led by a prominent businessman and mayor of the capital, Ljubljana, was the surprise election winner, although the conservatives had been the favorites. Zoran Jankovic's Positive Slovenia party received nearly 29 percent of the vote. He told supporters the result shows Slovenia is headed in the right direction. He says voters wanted an efficient government, the rule of law, democracy and social stability. His Positive Slovenia party will have to tackle the country's mounting debt, unemployment and a looming recession. Jankovic promised swift reforms, including austerity measures in this Alpine nation of two-million people.

Jankovic failed to gain a parliamentary majority, receiving the support of only 42 lawmakers in the 90-seat assembly. Just 47 voted, as several parties abstained. Jankovic, mayor of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, said that he accepts the outcome. “If you would like to know whether I am disappointed, I can tell you no, I am not. We have done our best. We stood firmly behind our promises to our voters. I am sorry because our program was good, and Slovenia would speedily recover. I still think that our three slogans: Lots of work, lots of will and hope are the best for Slovenians and that we will be a constructive opposition to whoever becomes the prime minister.''

On 25 January 2012 five Slovenian center-right parties reached a deal naming Janez Jansa as the eurozone nation's new prime minister. The coalition, which made up 50 of the 90 seats in parliament, named Jansa to the post on a platform of improving the country's economy. Slovenia's president, Danilo Turk, has refused to back Jansa, saying he lacks legitimacy for the post because of an ongoing corruption trial. Jansa was accused of taking bribes to secure a deal with a Finnish arms company. Jansa heads the Democratic Party and served previously as prime minister from 2004 to 2008. Despite the president's objections, he was confirmed by parliamen. The coalition deal came just two weeks after parliament rejected the appointment of Zoran Jankovic, whose party won the December 4 election, but without enough votes to form a majority coalition.

The main goals over the first half-year of the Government of the Prime Minister Janez Janša were the maintenance of financial sustainability and the promotion of economic growth. Ministers faced a budget deficit and at the same time, measures for the promotion of the economy and the creation of conditions to improve the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy were being prepared.

Slovenia held a presidential election on Sunday 11 Novemer 2012 with voters choosing among three candidates - incumbent President Danilo Turk, former center-left Prime Minister Borut Pahor and center-right ruling coalition candidate Milan Zver. Pre-election polls predicted that President Turk would place first, with 44 percent of the vote, while Pahor was predicted to gain over 30 percent. Exit polls showed former Prime Minister Borut Pahor with 41.9 percent of the vote, followed by President Danilo Turk, with 37.2 percent, and a center-right candidate Milan Zver at 20.9 percent. The winner must gain over 50 percent of the votes, and a second round of the election would be held on 02 December 2012 with the two top candidates from the initial round. Left-wing former Prime Minister Borut Pahor won Slovenia's December 02, 2012 presidential election by a landslide. Official results give Pahor 67 percent of the vote in Sunday's second round election, to incumbent President Danilo Turk's 33 percent.

On February 27, 2013 the 90-seat parliament voted 55-33 to dismiss conservative Prime Minister Janez Jansa's ruling coalition after just a year of trying to resove the ex-Yugoslav republic's worst economic and political crisis in 22 years of independence. A center-left finance expert, Positive Slovenia leader Alenka Bratusek, was given the task of halting the country's fall from post-communist star to euro zone bailout candidate. Bratusek's government cut public spending, privatized some industries and poured money into the country's troubled banks in its first months in office, doing enough to stave off outside financial assistance from the European Union.

Slovenia's prime minister won a confidence vote in parliament for her efforts to avert an international bailout to fix the eurozone country's troubled banking system. The 50 to 31 vote by lawmakers on November 15, 2013 regarding the 2014 budget gave Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek the political support she needed to find a solution to the country's economic woes without seeking outside help. The government wanted to raise taxes and cut spending to reduce the budget deficit. However, the vote of confidence did not erase the possibility of a European Union bailout.

Alenka Bratusek announced her resignation as Slovenian prime minister on 03 May 2014, just 13 months after taking the reins as Slovenian prime minister. She pressed parliament to call elections next month. Bratusek, to some by far the worst PM in Slovenian history, said she could not govern after being ousted as leader of the Positive Slovenia party. The mayor of the capital Ljubljana, party founder Zoran Jankovic, initiated the coup within the center-left party, saying Bratusek's austerity policies in Slovenia went against the party's election promises. The other three coalition partners in the four-party center-left government said they would drop out of the cabinet if Jankovic, the subject of a corruption investigation, became the party leader.

The Slovenian left, decisively influenced by the neo-communist deep state dismantled its own government after merely one year in power, triggered the second successive early national elections. Slovenia would hold a snap parliamentary election on 13 July 2014, President Borut Pahor declared on 01 May 2014. The election followed the resignation of the center-left Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek in May after she lost a battle for the leadership of the Positive Slovenia party. Two non-parliamentary parties had said they would dispute the election date at the Constitutional Court, arguing an election should not be held during summer holidays when many people will be away and turnout will be lower than usually. It was not clear when the court could rule on the matter.

"A snap election is a much, much better choice than trying to find another candidate for a prime minister," Pahor told reporters, adding that he expected the new government to be in place by the middle of September. He also said Slovenia was on its way out of an economic crisis after it narrowly avoided an international bailout in December by pumping some $4.5 billion into banks to prevent them from collapsing under bad loans piled up through years of reckless lending.

The leading governmental party, led by Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek, was utterly defeated in the 25 May 2014 European elections. The opposition Slovenian Democratic Party had been ahead in opinion polls in recent months and won the recent European Parliament election, getting 24.9 percent of the vote. However, that could change at the general election when turnout was expected to be at least twice as high as the 24.1 percent at the European vote. The center-left parties could be in a better position to form a government after the election, providing they manage to agree on an informal coalition before the vote and overcome fragmentation.

SDS would, with its good pro-European program and skilled team for the government, very likely repeat a victory from EU elections. But merely two days after SDS proposed a candidate list to the State Electoral Commission, the leader of the opposition SDS Democrats, Janez Janša, was sent to prison in connection with the long-running Patria corruption scandal. This act beheaded the party at the very beginning of the election campaign.

A parliamentary election for the 90 deputies to the National Assembly of Slovenia was held on 13 July 2014. Seventeen parties participated, including seven new parties, some of which formed only months before the election took place. Party of Miro Cerar (SMC), a new party led by law professor at the University of Ljubljana Miro Cerar, won the election with over 34% of the vote and 36 seats in the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia - the most number of seats that any single party has won since independence. That gave the 50-year-old law professor the strong mandate his recent predecessors lacked.

Second came in Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) with 20.72% of the votes or 21 seats. Along with SMC and SDS, enough votes to win seats in the National Assembly were also gained by the Democratic Pensioners' Party of Slovenia (DeSUS), which with 10.21% of the votes won 10 seats, the United Left (Združena Levica), with 5.97% of the vote won 6 seats, the Social Democrats (SD) with 5.96% of the vote also won 6 seats, New Slovenia (Nsi) with 5.57% won 5 seats, and the Alliance of Alenka Bratušek (ZaAB), with 4.34% of the vote won 4 seats in the National Assembly. The remaining two seats out of 90 are assigned to the representatives of the Italian and Hungarian minorities.

There were many new faces in the new assembly after the victory of Miro Cerar's SMC Party. One new name in parliament will be the United Left party. There were also a record number of females in the new assembly – 32. This was also the first time for an imprisoned man to attend a parliamentary session. The leader of the opposition SDS Democrats, Janez Janša, was granted temporary prison leave to attend the maiden session, as an elected MP. He arrived at the session unacommpanied by judiciary police.

Slovenia's parliament approved the new center-left coalition government of Prime Minister Miro Cerar 18 September 2014. The new government aimed to cut public spending and improve tax collection to help reduce the budget deficit to within EU limits. Cerar's 16-member cabinet was approved by 54 votes to 25. His three-party coalition held 52 of the 90 seats in parliament. His center-left SMC party won the snap general election in July and formed a coalition with the Desus party and the Social Democrats.Center-left political novice Miro Cerar indicated he would rewrite a reform package agreed upon with the European Union to fix the euro zone member's depleted finances. After a meteoric rise to the top, the public has great expectations from the respected jurist who is promising a new brand of politics. Cerar opposed the sale of state-owned telecoms provider Telekom Slovenia and the international airport, Aerodrom Ljubljana, fuelling investor fears of backsliding. Slovenia's economy is heavily controlled by the state.

Slovenians voted in a presidential election 22 October 2017 that was expected to easily re-elect President Borut Pahor, a veteran politician and former model known for his use of social media. Some 1.7 million voters chose among nine presidential candidates, including five women, for the mainly ceremonial but influential post.

Opinion polls suggested he would win most votes; the question is whether he can gain the 50 percent required to avoid a second round. Among eight challengers, his most likely rival in a run-off was the center-left mayor of Kamnik.

Pahor ran as an independent and said his main task was to bring people together. He used to lead the centre-left Social Democrats and was prime minister for four years from 2008. After the financial crisis the country managed to avoid an international bailout. A former fashion model, his campaign included 25 days walking hundreds of kilometers around the country.

Slovenia's presidency holds no executive power apart from nominal command of the military, but the president proposes the prime minister, who runs the government, and the president's opinion carries weight on important issues.

Slovenian President Borut Pahor has won another five-year term in office. Just over a third of the country's 1.7 million voters took part in the ballot 11 November 2017. Pahor received 53 percent of ballots to Sarec's 46 percent, according to the country's electoral commission. Voter turnout in the country of 1.7 million was a record low 37.5 percent. The president's office is largely ceremonial in Slovenia with the prime minister and the parliament holding most of the political power.

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