The Slovenia Times

Festivities Get Under Way ahead of National Day


President Borut Pahor will address the main state ceremony in Congress Square in the evening, to be accompanied by salvoes fired from cannons at Ljubljana Castle by a guard of honour.

Earlier the National Assembly will hold a ceremonial session with a keynote by Deputy Speaker Primož Hainz in memory of its predecessor passing the Basic Constitutional Charter and the Declaration of Independence.

The document was passed on the basis of a plebiscite in December 1990, when 88.2% of the voters opted to break away from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

As is tradition, the festivities are also a chance to remember the victims of the ten-day Independence War, which was instigated by Yugoslav authorities following Slovenia's declaration of independence.

A reception for the relatives of soldiers and police officers who lost their lives defending Slovenia will be held at the presidential palace.

The country's most senior officials, including Prime Minister Miro Cerar, will also be on hand for a special mass for the homeland celebrated at Ljubljana's cathedral in the late afternoon.

Several memorial events have already been held earlier this week in Slovenia and abroad, including a 24-hour fast and prayer vigil for the homeland.

Cerar, Defence Minister Andreja Katič and Chief of the General Staff, Maj-Gen Andrej Osterman, addressed Slovenian troops serving abroad via a video conference on Tuesday.

The Yugoslav People's Army attacked the nation just hours after it declared independence at a 25 June 1991 ceremony in the square in front of the parliament building.

The conflict resulted in the deaths of 19 Slovenian soldiers and police, 12 foreign civilians and 44 soldiers of the Yugoslav People's Army, according to official accounts.

The hostilities ended on 7 July 1991 when Slovenia pledged in an EU-brokered declaration to suspend its independence efforts by three months.

When the moratorium expired in October 1991, Yugoslav troops left Slovenia and the country introduced its own currency.

The first country to recognise Slovenia was its southern neighbour Croatia (26 June 1991), which declared independence on the same day as Slovenia. International recognition followed in the months thereafter.


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