Pahor Hails First Multi-Party Elections as Important Milestone
Ljubljana, 7 April - President Borut Pahor highlighted at a state ceremony on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the first multi-party elections in Slovenia that the election held on 8 April 1990 had been "one of the most decisive milestones" in Slovenia's political and spiritual development.
The significance of the first multi-party elections after World War II in the country is three-fold, according to the president; they set up democracy, created the conditions for building an independent state, and contributed to national reconciliation.
While saying that Slovenians at the time had been "protagonists of the vision of a united democratic Europe" and were "not afraid of the future", the president said that a quarter of a century later they were disappointed by democracy.
"Our independent country, a member of the united Europe, is not as successful as was expected. National reconciliation is being questioned when it could be an inspiration for greater national unity," the president told the ceremony at the Cankarjev dom arts and congress centre.
He believes the events 25 years ago could be a lesson for Slovenians today. "A simple lesson is that nothing can be taken for granted...and that everything almost entirely depends on the aspirations and actions of the people."
He believes Slovenians will thrive only if "we will have a vision, a will and sense of cooperation".
But unlike 25 years ago, the current political, economic and social system should not be brought down but merely upgraded, he said. "Democracy is the foundation of our statehood, Europeanness and national conciliation," he pointed out.
Tonight's ceremony was attended by PM Miro Cerar, parliamentary Speaker Milan Brglez, National Council president Mitja Bervar, Slovenia's first PM Lojze Peterle, the head of the presidency of the republic, Milan Kučan, as well as the first and incumbent MPs.
The cultural programme centred on bringing to life through music and film the excitement of Slovenians as they headed to the polls for the first time in over 50 years.
Prior to the ceremony, the parliamentary speaker held a reception for members of the first assembly at Parliament House, labelling 8 April 1990 a "historic day", at which Slovenians showed a lot of optimism and determination.
"High election turnout reflected the unquestionable desire, determination and motivation of the Slovenian nation for political participation and democratic changes," he told the delegates from the 1990-1992 assembly.
On 8 April 1990 the elections for the president and members of the presidency of the republic and the delegates of the two of the chambers of the three-chamber assembly were held. A few days later, on 12 April, local elections were held along with the election for members of a third chamber of the assembly.
A total of 240 delegates were elected, 80 for each chamber. The election campaign lasted three weeks and the turnout was as high as 83.5%. The parliamentary threshold was set at 2.5%.
The election winner was the DEMOS coalition, which formed a government led by Peterle. Kučan, the president of the central committee of the Slovenian Communist Party, was elected president.
The 1990-1992 assembly passed the Constitution and the legislation which laid the foundations for Slovenia's independence.