Slovenia. At a party congress in the largest government party in Positive Slovenia in April, the leader, Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek, was dismissed from the party leader post. As a result, the party was divided into several parts.
Shortly thereafter, Bratušek resigned as prime minister and a new election was announced. A law professor and constitutional law expert, Miro Cerar, founded a new party in June and promised to try to break the political chaos that led to two shifts in one year.
In the recent election, Miro Cerar’s party (SMC) was supported by just over a third of voters and by a large margin became the largest party. According to Countryaah.com, Slovenia population in 2020 is estimated at 2,078,949. Second largest was the Conservative SDS (Slovenian Democratic Party), whose party leader, former Prime Minister Janez Janša, was sentenced to prison for corruption. Janša himself won a seat in Parliament despite serving his sentence. The verdict was set at a higher instance in October.
In September, Cerar formed a majority government with three center-left parties: his own SMC and the Social Democrats and the Democratic Pensioners Party (DeSUS).
Bratušek was supposed to be Slovenia’s representative in the new EU Commission, but in October the European Parliament voted her out on the grounds that she lacked qualifications and had in fact nominated herself before retiring as head of government. Instead, Violeta Bulc, who was approved as commissioner, was appointed in a hurry.
Slovenia’s contemporary history
Slovenia was recognized as a sovereign state on January 15, 1992. In the aftermath, political life was characterized by party political contradictions. The DEMOS alliance disbanded in April 1992. In new elections later this year, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDS), led by Janez Drnovšek, became the largest with 30 out of 90 representatives in parliament. This was a center party with some connection to the Communist Party’s old youth organization. The second largest was a Conservative party led by Prime Minister Lojze Peterle, who became Foreign Minister in the Drnovšek government. The third major party was the old Communist Party, the Party for Democratic Renewal, led by Janez Kocijančič.
The political landscape was dominated by the three largest parties, which also ruled together. The coalition was characterized by internal turmoil and personal contradictions, and in 1994 Peterle resigned as Foreign Minister. Drnovšek continued as prime minister almost continuously in changing coalition governments until 2002, when he was elected president after Milan Kučan.
Drnovšek is often honored for leading Slovenia’s successful transition from communism to market economy. After a downturn just after independence, as a result of the disappearance of the Yugoslav market, Slovenia experienced a favorable economic development. Together with the historical ties to the West and a stable democracy, this led to Slovenia being one of the new most successful states in Eastern Europe.
In 2002, Slovenia was invited to join both NATO and the EU. The country fully supported the US strategy in the Iraq conflict and thus opposed the Franco-German line. Slovenia was the only accession country to hold a referendum on NATO membership; it was held in 2003 – the same day as the EU vote. Both polls showed a clear majority to join. Slovenia was among the seven states that joined NATO on March 29, 2004. On May 1, 2004, Slovenia also joined the EU, as the most prosperous of the ten new member states. Euro was introduced in 2007. In 2010, Slovenia joined the OECD, a global association for economic cooperation in developed countries.
The relationship between Slovenia and Croatia has been tense due to a dispute over an important fishing waters in the Piran Bay in the Adriatic. In addition, both states claim four small villages. In the autumn of 2004, Croatian police arrested 12 Slovenians on the border between Slovenia and Croatia, including two parliamentarians. The Slovenes had been visiting one of the villages. Croatian authorities claimed that the Slovenes refused to show their papers. EU Secretary of State Javier Solana went to the disputed area and urged both parties to show moderation, and in 2005, the two governments signed an agreement to prevent episodes at the border, but without solving the basic problems.
Slovenia has played an increasing central role in the Balkans and in the rest of the world community, and has contributed soldiers in both the SFOR force in Bosnia and the KFOR force in Kosovo.