Enabling Environments for Civic Movements and the Dynamics of Democratic Transition - Slovenia

Period of democratic transition: 1990–1992
Pro-democracy civic movement: present

At the end of World War I, Slovenia became a part of the new kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (renamed the kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929), and after World War II, it became one of six constituent republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Slovenia was the most prosperous of the republics; in the years shortly after Josip Tito's death, it consolidated economic and political power and allowed a powerful civil society with some independent media to flourish.

Slovenia's independence drive began in earnest in 1989. With the approval of Milan Kucan, the reform-minded leader of the Communist Party, the assembly approved constitutional amendments that strengthened its right to secede from the federation. After multiparty elections were allowed in 1989, a non-political party opposition group, the Democratic Opposition of Slovenia Party (DEMOS), formalized. Made up of six opposition groups, DEMOS won an absolute majority in the April 1990 elections. DEMOS's political platform, independence within a year, was successful when 88 percent of Slovenia's population voted for independence in December 1990. On June 25, 1991, these same civic and political forces declared independence, resulting in a 10-day war with the Serbian-dominated Yugoslav government. Eighteen Slovenians and 44 soldiers from the Yugoslav army perished, while 5,000 were taken prisoner by Slovenia. On July 7, a peace pact was signed that led to the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces, paving the way for the long-term independence of Slovenia.

Kucan was reelected in 1992 and 1996 as the new country consolidated its power. It is considered a stable democracy where voter turnout remains high; in 2006, approximately 1 million of Slovenia's 1.6 million eligible voters participated in municipal elections.

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