Books on Slovenia
Update No: 125 - (25/10/07)
The Alpine miracle
Slovenia is a small Alpine nation of no obvious significance.
Actually it is a highly significant country.
If another small Alpine country, Switzerland, is the most successful capitalist
country of all, why is it that Slovenia is the most successful of all the former
Is it due to the Alps?
One answer, while not the whole story, is 'Yes.'
The Alps are in a splendid place, athwart the trade routes and cultural pathways
from Italy, the fount of the spread of the Roman Empire and of capitalism, the
Renaissance and so much else, to Europe to the north.
The Swiss cantons were the greatest beneficiaries of the process. They evolved a
magnificent civilisation that can stand on its own. They have no need of the EU.
Slovenia decided differently. But it was occupied by foreign powers in the Lower
Alps many times.
It is to assume the presidency of the EU in January. Who has the presidency of
Slovenia itself, therefore really matters.
First round of presidential elections
Slovenian presidential elections on October 21 have led to a run-off vote as
none of the seven candidates won an absolute majority. It will take place on
The vote, in which the incumbent Janez Drnovsek was not running, represented a
key test for Prime Minister Janez Jansa's centre-right coalition, which has
suffered a serious drop in public support a year ahead of parliamentary
The new president plays a largely ceremonial role in Slovenia, where the prime
minister is the key political player. Unlike in former years the EU presidency
could make a difference here.
Unlike in previous years, candidates have maintained a low profile during the
campaign, holding smaller rallies and meetings in villages and towns, with only
a limited number of giant posters and advertisements posted in the street.
Profile of Peterle
The front-runner and likely winner is Lojze Peterle, Born in 1948, he graduated
in economics and geography. He headed the Slovenian Christian Democrats, the
largest party, in April, 1990 elections, becoming premier.
He led the complex negotiations that achieved independence by 1992. He can be
regarded as the father of the nation.
He resigned in May 1992, after only two years as premier. But he became foreign
minister in December of that year, retaining leadership of the SCD. In September
of 1994 he resigned again, but kept a strong influence on events.
He is a strong ecologist, having been not only a geographer, but an adviser on
environmental matters at the Institute of Social Planning for many years. It is
fortunate that the likeliest next President of Europe should be a sort of
European Al Gore.