The Slovenia Times

Drnovšek Remembered as Moral Authority



Jožef Školč, a close aide of Drnovšek's and culture minister in his 1997-2000 government, remembers one of the most influential politicians in independent Slovenia for his weighed decisions.

His decisions may have seemed at first glance as unusual and shocking, but they pursued the general objectives set by the political classes, Školč told the STA. Drnovšek was also good at "bringing many people into the game".

Lojze Peterle, the first Slovenian prime minister and member of the European Parliament from the New Slovenia (NSi) party, said his fondest memory of Drnovšek is their final meeting in the autumn of 2007, when they discussed ethics and politics.

"Drnovšek talked personally, peacefully yet with an ethical commitment outside of political interests," Peterle told the STA, referring to a period in which Drnovšek, shortly before his death, began to live a spiritual, almost hermit-like life.

Peterle regrets, however, that Drnovšek was "unable to affect the Slovenian political scene more profoundly in the final years with his internalised attitude to politics emphasising ethics and justice".

University of Ljubljana Chancellor Stanislav Pejovnik was Education Ministry state secretary in Drnovšek's final government (2000-2002), but he also succeeded Drnovšek at the helm of the Movement for Justice and Development, an outfit promoting ethics and spirituality.

Pejovnik said Drnovšek was "a man of decisions" who new that politics was the art of the possible, merging a variety of philosophies and bodies of knowledge.

He had extraordinary moral authority and knew how to implement goals with consensus. "In such a system society works because it has vision, strategy and objectives," Pejovnik noted.

The movement that Drnovšek founded has been "in hibernation", but it continues to pursue vital projects such as the idea of a universal living wage, according to Pejovnik.

The movement will hold a memorial ceremony in Zagorje ob Savi, Drnovšek's birthplace, on Friday to remember the anniversary.

Drnovšek died of cancer at the age of 57, having led four governments between 1992 and 2002, with a brief intermission in 2000, and serving as president between 2002 and 2007.

He is considered one of the most influential Slovenian politicians of the past 20 years and a seminal figure in the country's transition to a market economy and successful bids for NATO and EU membership.


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