The Independent State

25 June, 1991 - the declaration of independence. Photo: UKOM archive

Slovenia’s economy developed rapidly, particularly in the fifties, when it was heavily industrialised. Slovenia was fast heading towards a market economy and managed to maintain a high level of economic development. Slovenia’s domestic product was 2.5 times the state average.

The second half of the 1980s proved crucial on the path to independence , particularly the critical writing of intellectuals in the circle of Nova revija magazine. Its 57th issue focused on Slovenia's independence. In 1988 and 1989 the first political opposition parties emerged, which in the 1989 May Declaration demanded a sovereign state for the Slovenian nation. In April 1990, the first democratic elections in Slovenia took place and were won by DEMOS, the united opposition movement, led by Dr Jože Pučnik.

In the same year more than 88% of the electorate voted for a sovereign and independent Slovenia . The declaration of independence  followed on 25 June 1991. The next day, the Yugoslav Army attacked the newly-founded state. After a ten-day war , a truce was called, and in October 1991 the last soldiers of the Yugoslav Army left Slovenia.

In December 1991 the independent Republic of Slovenia adopted its constitution , which is based on the rights of free citizens. In its general provisions, the constitution defines Slovenia as a democratic republic governed by the rule of law, and a social state.

The adoption of the constitution formally ended the former communist system. The European Union recognised Slovenia in the middle of January 1992, and the UN accorded it membership in May 1992. To some members of Demos and outsiders, this and international recognition  provided the basis for the argument that Demos had done its job and could be dissolved.

In December 1992, at new elections under a new, more democratic law, the strongest force in the single chamber parliament became the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS) led by Dr Janez Drnovšek, with 23 per cent of the vote, which balanced the Slovenian political arena by forming a coalition with one left-wing (reformed communists) and one right-wing party (Christian Democrats). With a similar coalition, the LDS was able to govern for twelve years, with only one interruption in the second half of 2000. It managed to establish a liberal political culture by passing numerous fundamental laws, for example with regard to education, and to carry out a social and economic transition into a social market economy with private initiative.

In 2004 Slovenia joined the EU, with considerable popular support, and NATO (common objectives of both the ruling coalition and the opposition).

At the parliamentary elections in the autumn of 2004, the Slovenian Democratic Party won and formed a centre-right government, headed by the leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party, Janez Janša, with the Christian Democrats, the Slovenian People's Party, and the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia as coalition partners.

On 1 January 2007 Slovenia joined the Eurozone.

Slovenia was also the first new Member State to assume the Presidency of the Council  in the first half of 2008.