Last Updated: Friday, 22 August 2014, 15:07 GMT

Nations in Transit 2009 - Slovenia

Publisher Freedom House
Author Damjan Lajh
Publication Date 30 June 2009
Cite as Freedom House, Nations in Transit 2009 - Slovenia, 30 June 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4a55bb44c.html [accessed 23 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

by Damjan Lajh

Capital: Ljubljana
Population: 2.0 million
GNI/capita: US$26,230

The data above was provided by The World Bank, World Bank Indicators 2009.

Nations in Transit Ratings and Averaged Scores

 1999-
2000
200120022003200420052006200720082009
Electoral Process2.001.751.751.501.501.501.501.501.501.50
Civil Society1.751.751.501.501.501.751.752.002.002.00
Independent Media1.751.751.751.751.751.501.752.002.252.25
Governance*2.252.502.252.252.00n/an/an/an/an/a
National Democratic Governancen/an/an/an/an/a2.002.002.002.002.00
Local Democratic Governancen/an/an/an/an/a1.501.501.501.501.50
Judicial Framework and Independence1.501.501.751.751.751.501.501.501.501.75
Corruption2.002.002.002.002.002.002.252.252.252.50
Democracy Score1.881.881.831.791.751.681.751.821.861.93

* Starting with the 2005 edition, Freedom House introduced separate analysis and ratings for national democratic governance and local democratic governance to provide readers with more detailed and nuanced analysis of these two important subjects.

NOTE: The ratings reflect the consensus of Freedom House, its academic advisers, and the author(s) of this report. The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author(s). The ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 7 the lowest. The Democracy Score is an average of ratings for the categories tracked in a given year.

Executive Summary

Slovenia is a relatively young state, having proclaimed its independence in 1991. In the period from the end of the 1980s to the start of the 1990s, Slovenia underwent many parallel transformations – it changed its economic and political system, and became an independent state on June 25, 1991. Slovenia joined the United Nations in 1992 as an internationally recognized state, the Council of Europe in 1993, and the European Union (EU) and NATO in 2004. On January 1, 2007, the Slovenian tolar was replaced by the euro, and at the end of December 2007 Slovenia entered the Schengen zone. Between January and July 2008 Slovenia held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the first of the 12 new EU member states to do so.

National Democratic Governance. In the first half of 2008, Slovenia held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, marking a symbolic peak in the country's social and political transformation that began in the 1980s. A dispute between the President and government over the appointment of ambassadors was resolved by year's end. The Social Democrats won national parliamentary elections in September. Slovenia's rating for national democratic governance remains unchanged at 2.00.

Electoral Process. Social Democrats led by Borut Pahor won the national parliamentary elections in September, taking power from the central-right government of Janez Jansa, who had managed the state for the previous four years and steered the Council of the EU for six months in the first half of 2008. Zares-New Politics became the third strongest party in the National Assembly. The electoral campaign, while free and fair, was marked with the so-called Patria corruption affair. Slovenia's rating for electoral process remains unchanged at 1.50.

Civil Society. With almost 21,000 non-governmental organizations, civil society in Slovenia is vibrant, but most NGOs are not involved in public affairs. A new agreement was signed between the Slovenian government and Slovenian nongovernmental organizations to encourage efficient, interactive and transparent cooperation during the Slovenian Presidency to the Council of the EU. Despite this agreement on cooperation, the majority of civil society remains outside the realm of pubic affairs, therefore, Slovenia's rating for civil society remains at 2.00.

Independent Media. Media independence remained a point of controversy between the center-right government of Janez Jansa and the center-left opposition during 2008. At the outset of the Slovenian presidency of the EU council in January, the European Federation of Journalists accused the Slovenian government of trying to spin its way out of controversial claims of interfering with press freedom at home. Prime Minister Borut Pahor announced a change in the Public Media Act to ensure greater autonomy for journalists and editors, and to prevent the concentration of media ownership. Slovenia's rating for independent media holds steady at 2.25.

Local Democratic Governance. At the end of January 2008, the National Assembly rejected the Act Establishing Provinces, which suggested dividing Slovenia into 14 provinces. A consultative referendum on the issue of establishing provinces was conducted on June 22, 2008, but the legitimacy of the referendum was questioned due to poor turnout. While politicians and experts agree on the decentralization of Slovenia, the main issues remain the number and size of the proposed provinces. Slovenia's rating for local democratic governance remains unchanged at 1.50.

Judicial Framework and Independence. Despite strong opposition, a new penal code was adopted on November 1, 2008, introducing lifelong imprisonment, the reinstatement of a register of persons who have committed criminal sexual offences against juveniles, protection of workers' rights, and granting judges the power to sentence convicts to humanitarian or community-oriented work. Judges, dissatisfied with the new code signed a Collective Agreement for the Public Sector, and started a work-to-a-rule strike. As a result of the adoption of the new penal code despite strong opposition and the veto of the national council, Slovenia's rating for judicial framework and independence worsens from 1.50 to 1.75.

Corruption. In 2008, unproven claims surfaced that Slovenian officials had been bribed by the Finnish company Patria to help finalize the purchase of armored personnel carriers for the Slovenian army. The affair reached its peak during the electoral campaign, just three weeks before elections. Being connected with the affair at the time, Prime Minister Janez Jansa brought charges against a journalist from Finnish National Television and several Slovenian contributors to the broadcast that broke the story. In 2008, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption fought serious financial problems, which resulted in the National Assembly approving the lowest budget in the Commission's history. The scandal surrounding the Patria affair lowers Slovenia's rating for corruption worsens from 2.25 to 2.50.

Outlook for 2009. During 2009, the media and its ownership will remain a point of controversy between the center-left government and the center-right opposition. The Slovenian government will be challenged with adopting appropriate measures in to minimize the impact of the global economic crisis in Slovenia, including rising rate of unemployment. Slovenian tycoons will be under great pressure to pay back enormous bank debts. The agreement between the government and judges about the salary system should be reached. Elections to the European Parliament in 2009 will be an evaluation of the government's work in its first eight months.

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