President is the first face of a country. It is chosen by a majority of people for the sake of representing the people outside as well as inside the country. This is an incredibly important governmental position, so people are working for decades in order to reach it.
Today, in the year 2020, the President of the Republic of Slovenia is Borut Pahor. Furthermore, he has been in service since December 2012. Before this, Pahor was the Prime Minister of Slovenia from November 2008 to February 2012.
To start with, Borut Pahor is a highly intellectual and knowledgeable character of the Slovenian politics field. To prove it, let us mention that he fluently speaks English, French, Italian, and the language of their blood brothers and neighbors, Serbo-Croatian.
In a sequence, now he is the 4th President of Slovenia, and he was the 6th Prime Minister. An interesting fact is that during his presidency, Janez Janša was the prime minister two times as well as one time before Pahor’s prime ministry. Therefore, there is a thought of political critics that Slovenian politics are interchangeable, and they are always wondering from position to position.
In the Slovenia Constitution, it is mentioned that the President is the head of the state. He/she should be elected on voting among the population of the entire country. The term is 5 years with the possibility of a maximum of two ones. The President holds a representative role in the international arena as well as the chief commander of the Slovenian military forces.
Today, it is Pahor’s second presidential cadency. Therefore, in two next years, there should be a successor for him in any case. However, he did a lot of work even before the presidency.
Pahor was a president of the Social Democrats party, and this opened him a door to the National Assembly, where he served there as a speaker from 2000 until 2004. However, afterward, he was elected in the European Parliament, so he disappeared from the Slovenian political arena for some time.
His return happened in 2008, when the Social Democrats party won parliamentary elections, hence Pahor became the Prime Minister of Slovenia. After that, there were times of political tension in the country, so he stayed as the pro tempore Prime Minister until 2011 when Janez Janša replaced him.
Borut Pahor went for the Presidential elections in 2012 and won them, receiving roughly two-thirds of the vote. The public opinion described him as “only the beginning, the beginning of something new, a new hope, a new period”. Therefore, he became the youngest President in the history of Slovenia as well as the first person who held all three highest positions in the political system: the President, the Prime Minister, and the speaker of the parliament. In 2017, he was reelected.
His wife is Tanja Pečar, and he has a son, Luka.
Before the 2000s Period
Borut Pahor was born in Postojna, in Yugoslavia (SR Slovenia), and his childhood happened in the town of Nova Gorica. His father was a Nazi concentration camp survivor, but he died when Borut was small. In general, Pahor was raised by his mother.
Future President finished Nova Gorica High School in 1983 and was enrolled in the University of Ljubljana, where his studies were political science and journalism at the Faculty of Sociology. When he graduated, his bachelor thesis was awarded the highest academic award for students in Slovenia, the Student Prešeren Award!
He started his political career from joining the League of the Communists of Slovenia. After that, Pahor entered the Slovenian Parliament on the list of the League of Communists – Party of Democratic Reform (SD). After the Yugoslav collapse, communists got a minority in the parliament, they were defeated by the Democratic Opposition of Slovenia (DEMOS). Consequently, regarding the public mood of those days, Pahor cut with his communistic past and proposed the merger to Jože Pučnik’s party of Social Democratic Party of Slovenia (SDS).
In the Slovenian political arena, there was a great change. DEMOS (a coalition of Slovenian Democratic Union, Social Democratic Party of Slovenia, Slovenian Christian Democrats, Liberal Party, the Greens of Slovenia, and the Slovenian Farmers’ Association) won the general elections with 54% of the votes and became the political majority. This allowed the government to make the referendum asking people whether they want to be in separate Slovenia, and 88% voted for “yes”. The first country to recognize Slovenia was Croatia. After that, former Soviet states such as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine. Thereby, in 1992, it was recognized by the European Economic Community.
After gaining independence, Slovenia takes a direction into the European Union and NATO (Transatlantic Military Union). Those priorities were taken during the evolution of parties too. In 1992, after a successful campaign, DEMOS has divided into parties again. The major one was the Liberal Democrats of Slovenia (LDS). It was the leading party and ruled Slovenia for almost 12 years. LDS was gathering enough votes to form governments in 1996 and 2000 as well. Another party in the ruling coalition was The Social Democratic (SD). The magnet for the electorate of the party was its President Borut Pahor, however, he did not have as much support as DEMOS.
In that period, he shifted his policy vector. In 2000, Pahor led his party in the coalition with the first one mentioned about the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia led by Janez Drnovšek, who was the Prime Minister for almost 10 years already. Thereby, the Slovenian national agenda shifted to a centrist approach.
At the same time, Pahor has issues with the left sector within his party regarding Slovenia’s NATO membership. He was a big supporter of Slovenia’s entry into the transatlantic military alliance. As we mentioned above, he was a speaker of the National Assembly from 2000 until 2004, and then he left for the European Parliament.
After returning to the Slovenian internal political arena, he was able to run for the presidential elections of 2008. However, Pahor decided to support the presidential candidate Danilo Türk. Due to the popularity of his party, he became the Prime Minister of Slovenia from November 2008 until February 2012.
That period was quite hard for Slovenian internal and external policies. The country faced the global economic crisis, and they had an arbitration discourse with Croatia regarding the border dispute between the countries.
After he was defeated for re-election as President of the Social Democrats, he decided to go higher and run for the Presidential elections. Thus, Pahor won the second round of the election where he defeated previously supported Danilo Türk with 67.3% of the vote.
In 2017, he went for the second try and was reelected with about 53% of the vote. His opponent, Marjan Šarec, got 47%. That year experienced the lowest electorate attendance in the history of independent Slovenia, only 42%.
Slovenia is a parliamentary constitutional republic, whereby the President plays their most representative role. Plus, the President is the chief commander of the army forces. Despite this fact, Borut Pahor decided to take all the possible moves in this position. Of course, he didn’t manage to attack anyone as a chief commander, he decided to help other countries as much as he could.
He met Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia in order to discuss the Ukrainian conflict. He proposed a Trump-Putin meeting in Ljubljana. He was involved in different meetings, major events in a number of countries as a speaker. He regularly meets with the youth.
Therefore, Borut Pahor got a pile of awards from different countries. The list includes:
- 5 May 2014, Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
- 25 November 2014, Grand Cross Special Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
- 25 July 2016, Sash of the Order of Stara Planina, Bulgaria
- 8 November 2016, Member of the Order of Liberty, Ukraine
- 28 October 2017, Collar of the Order of the White Lion, Czech Republic
- 9 January 2019, Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III, Cyprus
- 5 June 2019, Recipient of the Cross of Recognition First Class, Latvia
- 26 August 2019, Collar of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, Estonia
- 6 November 2019, Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav, Norway
To Sum Up
Borut Pahor is an example of a good politician. Somebody might say that his switch from a communistic ideology into social-democratical one is an example of opportunism. I would say it not. Slovenia experienced hard times as well as the entire Yugoslavia. The world collapsed, and politicians did everything to stabilize the situation. Evidence of this is the fact that now Slovenia is the highest life quality country from all the Slavic European ones.
Therefore, that was not an example of opportunism but the try to adjust to the new realities of the modern capitalistic future of the country. That’s why people supported “former communist” twice, he is a person with critical intellectual thinking and was able to do his best in any political situation.