The foundation of Slovenia's independence was
laid after World War II when a Slovenian sub-republic
was formed in 1945, within the Republic of Yugoslavia.
Slovenia's ties to Italian Trieste gave the Slovenes
access to information from the West and border trade
during the communist era in Yugoslavia. Slovenia was the
most developed sub-republic and became the first to
break into independence in 1991. The relatively
well-developed economy gave Slovenia the lead in market
reforms. The country joined both the EU and NATO in
After the war, Slovenia got the eastern part of
Gorizia which Austria had resigned to Italy in 1920.
Western Gorizia with the city of Trieste, liberated by
the partisans, on the other hand, became a disputed
area. The Allies insisted that Trieste be placed under
UN control. It was not until 1954 that the city's status
was established, when Slovenia was formally granted
another piece of coast and Italy gained supremacy over
Trieste. A significant Slovenian minority thus came to
live in Italy at the same time as many Italians chose to
move from the parts that became Slovenian.
List of most commonly used acronyms containing Slovenia. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.
The leader of Yugoslavia Tito went to the beginning
of Soviet leader Josef Stalin. The Communist Party was
the only permissible political force, all opposition was
suppressed and major parts of business were
nationalized. Eventually, however, Tito came on a
collision course with Stalin and in 1948 Yugoslavia was
excluded from the communist community. Tito changed
domestic policy and allowed decentralization of economic
decision-making, including through self-management
systems at the factories. Yugoslavia then received
extensive financial and military assistance from the
United States and other Western countries.
Growing internal contradictions
Slovenia's special ties to Italian Trieste meant that
the Slovenes had access to uncensored information from
the West as well as a thriving black border trade.
Slovenia was the richest and most industrialized
Yugoslav sub-republic and was annoyed at being forced to
contribute to financial smoothing within the federation
- especially as it was suspected that a large portion of
the money went to bragging projects in poorer
sub-republics and to the bureaucracy in Belgrade.
In the 1970s, Yugoslavia began to have financial
problems, which only worsened during the 1980s. At the
same time, the internal contradictions increased. The
1974 constitution, created after a Croatian uprising,
gave the republics extensive self-government with their
own governments and administrations. Belgrade's central
government was responsible for foreign policy, defense
and parts of the economy, but the sub-republics were
able to veto important issues and for the most part the
federation's best came second.
After Tito's death in 1980, nationalist currents came
to the surface. In Serbia, Slobodan Milošević, who later
became the president of Serbia, began to unite and
revive Serbian nationalists, first against Albanians in
Kosovo, later against Croats and Slovenes. In 1988, the
Slovenes were upset by a military trial against an army
officer and three journalists who criticized the
Yugoslav People's Army. Independence began to be
discussed openly. Opposition parties were allowed and
free multi-party was announced. At the end of 1989, six
of the leading newly formed opposition parties formed
the Democratic Opposition coalition in Slovenia (Demos).
When Milošević called for an economic boycott of
Slovenia, the Slovenes withdrew part of the contribution
to the federal budget. After a proposal for increased
autonomy for the sub-republics was voted down by the
Congress of the Yugoslav Communist Party in January
1990, the Slovenian delegation left the congress. The
Slovenian Communist Party left the Yugoslav Party and
changed its name to the Democratic Reform Party (SDR).
When the first multi-party was held in Slovenia in
April 1990, Demos was able to form a government.
President became SDR leader Milan Kučan.
In July 1990, the Slovenian National Assembly, by
overwhelming majority, declared Slovenia a sovereign
state, without explicitly declaring that it left
Yugoslavia. Thus, Slovenian laws would apply before
federal laws. Slovenia also took control of the
territorial defense, a form of home defense in the
republics. The young dissident Janez Janša, as newly
appointed Minister of Defense, was commissioned to
organize an armed force. In response, the Yugoslav army
attempted to confiscate weapons and premises from the
In a referendum in December 1990, 89 percent of
Slovenian voters voted for full Slovenian independence.
Half a year followed with failed negotiations to find a
new form for the Yugoslav Federation.
On June 25, 1991, Slovenia declared its independence.
Only a few hours later, Croatia followed suit.
In Slovenia, war broke out between the Yugoslav army
and the Slovenian outbreak, but it only lasted for ten
days. About 80 people were killed, most of them Yugoslav
soldiers. The Serbian leadership, with Slobodan
Milošević at the forefront, soon let Slovenia leave to
concentrate instead on Croatia's forces with its large
Serbian minority. In Croatia, war broke out until the
end of 1995.
Slovenia agreed to postpone the formal independence
for three months against the resignation of the Yugoslav
army, following the EU's mediation of a ceasefire. The
country became completely independent on October 7. A
new currency, tolar, was introduced at the same time. In
December 1991, the Slovenian Parliament adopted a new
Through independence, Slovenia's political life
changed. Demos fell apart and Janez Drnovšek, leader of
the Slovenian Liberal Democrats (LDS), formed a broad
government of the center and left parties. When the
first parliamentary elections after independence were
held in December 1992, LDS became the largest party. In
the simultaneous presidential election, former communist
leader Milan Kučan stood as an independent candidate and
won by a large margin.
Despite a good starting position, the Slovenian
economy experienced major problems in connection with
independence. Slovenes made up only 8 percent of the
population in the now disintegrating Yugoslavia, but
they accounted for 20 percent of the country's economy
and 30 percent of exports. The main reason for the
difficulties that arose was that exports to the other
Yugoslav sub-republics almost ceased. Previously, almost
two-thirds of Slovenian exports had gone to other
sub-republics. The planning economy - a legacy of the
communist era - also had an inhibiting effect. The
state-owned companies had difficulty surviving on the
free market that became reality when communism fell.
Industrial production fell sharply and the standard
of living fell to 1972 levels. But the Slovenes managed
to quickly replace large parts of the lost markets in
ex-Yugoslavia with new ones in Western Europe. At the
same time, a privatization of business was initiated.
Already after two years, the economy began to recover.
The policy was largely characterized by a series of
scandals in 1993–1994. The most serious was the supply
of arms to Bosnia and Herzegovina in violation of the UN
arms embargo. Defense Minister Janez Janša was charged
with interference but was acquitted.
In the 1996 parliamentary elections, LDS went ahead
and Drnovšek formed a new government. The following
year, the popular Milan Kučan was re-elected for a
second term in five years.
Prime Minister Drnovšek resigned in April 2000, after
losing a vote of confidence in Parliament and the
government coalition exploded. A new government was
temporarily formed under the leadership of the Christian
Democratic Slovenian People's Party (SLS). But since LDS
progressed in the parliamentary elections in October of
that year, Drnovšek returned as prime minister for a
Two years later Drnovšek won the presidential
election and was succeeded as head of government by
Finance Minister Anton (Tone) Rop, who also took over
the post as party leader for LDS.
The government's main goal was to bring Slovenia into
the EU and NATO, and to accelerate the liberalization of
the economy. The EU Commission was satisfied with the
development in many areas but criticized Slovenia for
not having gone far enough in the sale of state-owned
enterprises, especially in the banking and insurance
sectors. Slovenia was also urged to speed up the return
of private, especially Italian, property that was taken
over by the state during the communist era and to
streamline state administration. By the end of 2002, the
EU negotiations had ended and in the spring of 2003, the
Slovenes were allowed to vote in a decisive referendum.
Nearly 90 percent voted for EU membership and 66 percent
voted for NATO membership.
Membership in NATO and the EU
In March 2004, Slovenia became a full member of NATO,
and on May 1 of that year, it became an EU member.
The 2004 parliamentary elections led to a shift in
power, when the LDS Liberal Democrats lost for the first
time since independence. The conservative Slovenian
Democratic Party (SDS) won and party leader Janez Janša
became prime minister. He formed a coalition government
with both Christian Democratic parties SLS and New
Slovenia (NSI), as well as the Democratic Pensioners
Among other things, the new center-right government
wanted to implement a tax reform in the neo-liberal
spirit. A radical privatization program was also on the
agenda. From the trade unions and the left opposition,
the opposition was strongly opposed to the proposed
reforms. After major protests, plans for so-called flat
taxes were replaced with lower taxes for the most
wealthy. Several planned privatizations of state-owned
companies also had to be shelved. In other cases, former
executives bought into the companies with the help of
The growing dissatisfaction with the bourgeois
government was reflected in the October / November 2007
presidential election, when the independent candidate
and former UN diplomat Danilo Türk won with the support
of the opposition.
In the 2008 parliamentary elections, the Social
Democrats (SD) were the largest by a small margin.
Social Democrats leader Borut Pahor now formed a
center-left government with LDS, Desus and Social
Liberal Slovenia for real (Zares).
Prior to the accession, Pahor promised a fairer
economic policy with increased state control. But at the
same time, the international financial crisis began to
have repercussions in Slovenia. The economy shrank by 8
percent in 2009 and the budget deficit rose to over 5
Tightening causes dissatisfaction
The government tried to cope with the economic crisis
through cuts, including a pay cut for public sector
employees. This led to widespread protests and strikes.
The government also suffered setbacks in two referendums
in 2011, when voters said no to changes in labor law and
rejected plans to raise retirement age.
The worsening economic crisis, with rising interest
rates, fueled voter dissatisfaction and increased
internal contradictions. After two parties left the
coalition, the government fell.
In the recent election held in December 2011, a
center-left party formed just six weeks earlier, won
Positive Slovenia. Founder was Ljubljana's popular
mayor, the wealthy businessman Zoran Janković. But
Janković failed to negotiate a government coalition.
Thus, the door was open to SDS, which came in second
place. SDS leader Janez Janša now returned as head of
government, despite being charged with corruption. Janša
was suspected of receiving bribes in connection with the
ordering of armored cars from a Finnish company in 2006,
when he was prime minister.
Coalition takes office
In February 2012, a government coalition comprising
Janšas SDS, the newly formed Liberal Party Gregor
Virant's National List, the Pensioners' Party Desus and
the two Christian Democratic parties SLS and NSI took
Janša's government inherited the financial problems.
In April, the country was shaken by the largest general
strike since independence in 1991. About 100,000 public
servants participated. But after the government made
some concessions, Janša managed to agree with the trade
unions on a major austerity package that was pushed
through by Parliament.
The financial strain led to falling popularity
figures for the government in the autumn. Major protest
actions were held in several cities, against the
anti-gang policy and against the suspected corruption
among the country's rulers.
In the November and December 2012 presidential
elections, Social Democrat former Prime Minister Borut
Pahor won convincingly in the second round of incumbent
President Danilo Türk. The victory was somewhat
surprising as Pahor supported the government's budget
cuts while Türk was critical.
Bribery investigates the government
In early 2013 came a report from the Independent
Anti-Corruption Commission, which had investigated the
leaders of all major parties. According to the
Commission, neither Janša nor opposition leader Zoran
Janković had accounted for all his private assets, in
violation of the law. Janša claimed it was an
But the accusations caused the government to
gradually drop the breast and in February Parliament
voted to dismiss Janša. The task of forming a new
government now went to Alenka Bratušek, who took over as
leader of Positive Slovenia when Janković temporarily
left all assignments for the party because of the
bribery charges. Slovenia then got its first female head
of government. She formed a four-party coalition that
also included the Social Democrats, Citizens List and
The new coalition must deal with the recession and
the crisis discovered by banks that were burdened by bad
loans. Concerns grew for Slovenia to become yet another
euro area forced to seek international emergency loans.
But Bratušek managed to get through a package of budget
cuts, tax increases and privatizations, while dampening
popular protests. Slovenia managed to strengthen the
banks on its own with large capital injections, without
requesting assistance from abroad. However, it
contributed to an increase in the budget deficit and
central government debt (see Financial overview).
The government was also pressured by the fact that
Janković wanted to be re-elected as party leader for
Positive Slovenia. When he received support internally
in the party, Bratušek announced that she could not
remain, and the coalition parties in the government
declared that they could not co-operate with Janković.
The result was again a new election.
Newly formed party forms government
In the new election held in July 2014, the newly
formed center-left party, Milo Cerar's party (SMC), won
(see Calendar). Cerar lacked political experience but
was a respected professor of law at the University of
Ljubljana. He was known as an adviser to the National
Assembly on constitutional issues and appeared
frequently in the media. Cerar also came from a
well-known family: his father was an acclaimed Olympic
gymnast and his mother was prosecutor and minister of
In addition to the SMC, two other new parties also
joined Parliament: the United Left (ZL) and Alenka
Bratušek's alliance (Zaab). The latter was formed by the
outgoing Prime Minister Bratušek when she was dismissed
from the post of party leader in Positive Slovenia and
her government thereby fell. In total, the three
newcomers received 45 percent of the vote. Positive
Slovenia, which became the largest party in the 2011
elections, did not even manage to cross the four per
cent block and was left without a seat in Parliament.
Miro Cerar's party - which in 2015 changed its name
to the Modern Center Party (SMC) - formed a center-left
government with the retirement party Desus and the
A major project for the Cerar government was an
extension of the railway from Divača to the port city of
Koper, to increase capacity. However, critics who felt
that there were deficiencies in, among other things, the
financing of the project forced a referendum (see
Political system) on the decision. The voters supported
the project, but the Constitutional Court annulled the
referendum, citing the government's bias in the matter.
As a result, Prime Minister Cerar resigned in March
2018, a few months before the regular elections were