The Slovenia Times

Nataša Pirc Musar sworn in as Slovenia's fifth president

Nataša Pirc Musar is sworn in as Slovenia's fifth president.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Nataša Pirc Musar, a 54-year-old lawyer, was sworn in as Slovenia's first woman president at a ceremony at the National Assembly on 22 December, a day before she takes over as the country's fifth president from her predecessor Borut Pahor.

Taking her oath to respect the constitutional order, to act according to her conscience and work to the best of her abilities for Slovenia's prosperity, Pirc Musar pledged to continue to fight for human rights and the rule of law.

She promised to be the voice of citizens every time when sovereignty, equality, justice and welfare state are at stake. She also pledged to advocate the autonomy of society's sub-systems.

"Police, armed forces, diplomacy, healthcare and education are our property. We should therefore care deeply about how these subsystems are treated. We all need to know where politics must stop, and we need to remember again and again every day that these subsystems are there to serve us, the citizens, not the rulers," she said.

Listing the many challenges at home and abroad, Pirc Musar promised to work hard for a multilateral world order and a strong Europe made up of democratic and inclusive societies.

"You will recognise me in the international community as a champion of human rights, of the coexistence of nature and human, of understanding the opportunities and dangers of new technologies, of bringing together the strong, the like-minded for the rights of the weak, of a free and professional media, and of the fight against disinformation and hate speech," she announced.

She promised to work with parliament and the government as Slovenia takes its share of responsibility for the stability of the international community.

She mentioned Slovenia's candidacy for a non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council, describing the country as an excellent candidate. She strongly supports the bid and plans to actively campaign for it.

She said faint heart or silence never brought about change. "And no change will ever please everyone. Not even criticism. We must strive to make change acceptable to the majority - with clear condemnation of unacceptable practices and the hope of looking forward together."

Pirc Musar also thanked her predecessor Pahor for his work and mission, praising in particular his efforts in the Western Balkans.

"Symbolism counts in diplomacy and in relations with countries. There have been a great many symbolic gestures and meaningful gestures that strengthen friendship and bring the peoples of the region closer together in the past decade," she said about his ten-year stint.

Pirc Musar was elected in the 13 November run-off election, defeating Anže Logar, the former foreign minister, with 53.89% of the vote.

A newcomer to politics, she is a household name in Slovenia, having served two high-profile terms as the country's first information commissioner and several years as a news anchor. She is known for her advocacy of human rights and the rule of law.

Pirc Musar will be Slovenia's fifth president after Milan Kučan, Janez Drnovšek, Danilo Türk and Borut Pahor. Only Kučan and Pahor served two five-year terms.

She has indicated her first trip abroad as president will be a tour of the Western Balkans, as she intends to continue Pahor's efforts in the region.

This week, she presented her team. Professor Zlatko Šabič will serve as her international relations adviser and long-time diplomat Miriam Možgan as foreign policy adviser, among others.

In a farewell message to the citizens, Pahor said it "has been a great honour to serve as your president".

He said that he had sought to be a president for all citizens, to bring them together, to take a step forward together towards reconciliation, to strengthen Slovenia's reputation in the world and to seek our friends everywhere.

Pahor was a very popular president and many agree that he tried to be everyone's president. He was also praised for fostering friendship with the neighbouring countries and for his efforts to promote cooperation in the region and its inclusion in the EU.

Looking at his legacy, analyst Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič has told the STA Pahor "understood his role was to rise above the daily political disputes and embody the institution that every citizen is supposed to be able to identify with".

However, he also said that simultaneously the polarisation in the country increased markedly over the last two years, and Pahor's aspiration to serve as everybody's president proved to have the opposite effect.

In his view, Pahor's greatest achievements on the international stage include the visit of Italian President Sergio Mattarella to a monument in Basovizza in honour of Slovenian anti-Fascists executed by Fascists in 1930.


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