The Slovenia Times

Slovenians Remember Momentous Decision 24 Years Ago



Designated as Constitution Day, but not a public holiday, 23 December also marks 23 years, to the date, since the Slovenian Constitution was passed and declared in parliament.

A year earlier the independence plebiscite saw 93.2% of eligible voters cast their ballots, 95% of them voting in favour of independence, which means that 88.5% of all eligible voters opted for independence.

The outcome of the vote was clear soon after the polls closed on 23 December 1990, but was not officially declared until three days later. In memory of that day, Slovenia observes Independence and Unity Day on 26 December.

The main Independence Day ceremony will be held at Cankarjev dom tonight, to be addressed by PM Miro Cerar as the keynote speaker. It will be preceded by a ceremonial session of the National Assembly.

As has become a tradition on that day, a special reception will be held at the presidential palace for the relatives of the victims of the 1991 independence war.

On the occasion, President Borut Pahor, Defence Minister Janko Veber and Chief of the General Staff, Major-General Andrej Osterman will address Slovenian troops serving abroad via a video conference.

Meanwhile, Archbishop of Ljubljana Stane Zore will celebrate a mass for the homeland ahead, which is also tradition ahead of Independence and Unity Day.

After the plebiscite on 23 December 1990, Slovenia gradually took control over state bodies so that it was able to declare its independence and sovereignty on 26 June 1991.

An important aspect of Slovenia's breakaway from the former federation, the Constitution was declared by the then assembly on 23 December 1991. It has since been amended nine times, with six major changes.

The first of these was in 1997, when Slovenia pledged to enable foreigners to become owners of real estate in Slovenia, as a result of which Italy unblocked Slovenia's accession to the EU.

An amendment included in 2000 determined proportional representation as the electoral system in Slovenia and changes in 2003 secured the legal groundwork to join the EU and NATO.

Parliament also amended the Constitution in 2006 to provide the basis for the establishment of provinces, which have not been formed to date.

The latest two major changes were passed last year to enshrine the fiscal rule of balanced budgets and to restrict the right to demand a referendum.

The Constitutional Court marked Constitution Day with a ceremony last week. In his address chief justice Miroslav Mozetič called it a reminder of the commitment to build a free and fair society.


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