Slovenia observes Statehood Day

Ljubljana, 25 June - Slovenia is observing Statehood Day today, remembering 25 June in 1991, when parliament passed key pieces of legislation that paved the legal path for the country's independence from Yugoslavia.

The Slovenian flag flown by a parachutist.
Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

In line with tradition, Statehood Day celebrations culminate on the eve of the holiday, which is a work-free day, and the central ceremony was held in Congress Square in Ljubljana on Sunday.

The Slovenian Assembly passed the Basic Constitutional Charter and the Declaration of Independence on 25 June 1991 in the culmination of years of longing and months of preparations to break away from the former federation.

The documents were passed on the basis of a plebiscite held in December 1990 in which 88.2% of all voters opted for a break from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The turnout was 93.2%.

However, the first major step towards independence was the multi-party elections in April 1990, which were won by a coalition of newly-emerged parties associated in the DEMOS coalition.

Independence was officially declared at the 26 June 1991 ceremony in the square in front of the parliament building. Just hours later, the new state was attacked by the Yugoslav People's Army.

The hostilities, which claimed the lives of 19 Slovenian soldiers and police officers, 12 foreign civilians and 44 soldiers of the Yugoslav People's Army, according to official accounts, ended on 7 July 1991 when Slovenia pledged in an EU-brokered declaration to suspend its independence efforts by three months.

When the moratorium expired in October 1991, Yugoslav troops left Slovenia and the country introduced its own currency and eventually obtained international recognition in the months that followed.

© STA, 2018