Pahor calls for revival of consensual politics

Ljubljana – President Borut Pahor called for a renaissance of consensual politics in his address to a ceremony on Wednesday marking the 30th anniversary since Slovenia adopted its constitution, as Miro Cerar, who was involved in the making of the constitution, lamented the loss of political and legal culture.

Addressing the event at the Presidential Palace, Pahor said Slovenia’s independence and democratic constitution were “the children of high political culture and high consensual politics of the time” where dialogue and cooperation prevailed despite deep differences.

Pahor also noted the importance of institutions for democracy, saying high political and legal culture was required for the constitution as the product of deepened dialogue and cooperation of the time to live in its spirit.

He spoke of a decline of consensual politics, which he said was not of lasting nature but a cyclic one. Thus a renaissance of politics is needed which aspires to dialogue, cooperation and sensible compromises.

“Dialogue and cooperation are not an expression of weakness of those involved, but rather of their strength. It is a reflection of their weakness that they should reject such dialogue and search for compromises,” said Pahor.

Cerar, the former prime minister who 30 years ago served as the secretary of the parliamentary commission for constitutional issues, noted Slovenia’s independence and its international affirmation as a major achievement, in particular as few supported its independence at the start.

Cerar said the constitution, born out of hope for a “freer and more tolerable political future”, was key to those efforts and achievements. He noted the democratic system and respect for human rights and freedoms as being at its core.

“Even though the constitution needs amending in some respects, it’s possible to conclude that through the ups and downs in Slovenia in recent years, the constitution has been the only truly stable legal and political factor of social cohesion and continuity.”

However, Cerar described the present time as “restless and difficult in many ways”, while political culture 30 years on was almost at a lower level than it was when Slovenia set out on the path of democracy.

“Legal culture too is in decline and Slovenia’s society has become deeply divided in recent times. It’s cause for concern and a reminder that nothing in this world can be taken for granted,” said Cerar, calling for civic courage and active citizenship in defence of constitutional values.