The Slovenia Times

Long-serving Italian minority MP Battelli dies

Roberto Battelli, a former long-serving MP for the Italian minority. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Roberto Battelli, a former MP who represented the Italian ethnic minority in Slovenia , has died, aged 69. Battelli served in parliament for seven terms, from 1992 to 2018.

Born in 1954 in Pula, Croatia, Battelli entered politics after an initial career in journalism. He started at the Koper-Capodistria bilingual local TV station in 1975, eventually becoming editor of the news desk. In 1988 he became a corresponded for the Italian-language daily La Voce del Popolo, based in Croatia's Rijeka.

His political career began in 1990 when he was elected to the then Slovenian parliament, still under Yugoslavia. He was re-elected as the sole representative of the Italian minority in the National Assembly in independent Slovenia in 1992, 1996 in 2000, 2004, 2008 in 2011.

In 2022 former President Borut Pahor decorated Battelli with the Golden Order of Merit for his long-time work and contribution to the development of democracy in Slovenia and for his merits in connecting and preserving the Italian minority in Slovenia.

He has played an "active part in the key moments of the establishment of the Slovenian state and had an indispensable role in paving the way for appropriate legal protection of ethnic minorities in the Slovenian constitution", the president's office wrote a the time.

It also noted that Battelli had participated in the drafting of more than 200 legal acts that resolve the situation of members of national minorities in Slovenia.

These include changes to the act regulating special rights of the Italian and Hungarian minorities in Slovenia in education, which ensured a higher quality of education in the schools of both ethnic minorities.

A minute's silence in honour of the former MP will be observed in the National Assembly at its next session. "He will be forever remembered," the parliament's press service wrote in announcing his death on 15 April.


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