Slovenia occupies an area about the size of the state of Massachusetts. It is largely a mountainous republic and almost half of the land is forested, with hilly plains spread across the central and eastern regions. Mount Triglav, the highest peak, rises to 9,393 ft (2,864 m).
Parliamentary democratic republic.
Slovenia was originally settled by Illyrian and Celtic peoples. It became part of the Roman Empire in the first century B.C.
The Slovenes were a south Slavic group that settled in the region in the 6th century A.D. During the 7th century, the Slavs established the state of Samu, which owed its allegiance to the Avars, who dominated the Hungarian plain until Charlemagne defeated them in the late 8th century.
When the Hungarians were defeated by the Turks in 1526, Hungary accepted Austrian Hapsburg rule in order to escape Turkish domination; the Hapsburg monarchy was the first to include all of the Slovene regions. Thus, Slovenia and Croatia became part of the Austro-Hungarian kingdom when the dual monarchy was established in 1867. Like Croatia and unlike the other Balkan states, it is primarily Roman Catholic.
Following the defeat and collapse of Austria-Hungary in World War I, Slovenia declared its independence. It formally joined with Montenegro, Serbia, and Croatia on Dec. 4, 1918, to form the new nation called the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. The name was later changed to Yugoslavia in 1929.
During World War II, Germany occupied Yugoslavia, and Slovenia was divided among Germany, Italy, and Hungary. For the duration of the war many Slovenes fought a guerrilla war against the Nazis under the leadership of the Croatian-born Communist resistance leader, Marshal Tito. After the final defeat of the Axis powers in 1945, Slovenia was again made into a republic of the newly established Communist nation of Yugoslavia.
Slovenia Peacefully Gains Independence From Yugoslavia
In the 1980s, Slovenia agitated for greater autonomy and occasionally threatened to secede. It introduced a multiparty system and in 1990 elected a non-Communist government. Slovenia declared its independence from Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991. The Serbian-dominated Yugoslavian army tried to keep Slovenia in line and some brief fighting took place, but the army then withdrew its forces. Unlike Croatia and Bosnia, Slovenia was able to sever itself from Yugoslavia with relatively little violence. With recognition of its independence granted by the European Community in 1992, the country began realigning its economy and society toward western Europe. Slovenia joined the EU and NATO in 2004.
In a surprise upset, the center-right Slovenian Democrats (SDS) leader Janez Jansa won in Oct. 2004 elections. Prime Minister Anton Rop, of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDS), conceded defeat. LDS had been in power for most of the previous 12 years. Slovenia changed its currency to the euro on Jan. 1, 2007, becoming the first former Communist country to do so.
In the second round of 2007's presidential elections in November, Danilo Türk, a leftist former diplomat who spent much of his career abroad, took 68.3% of the vote, well ahead of former prime minister Lojze Peterle's 31.7%. Türk's breeze to victory suggested that Slovenians have grown weary of Jansa's conservative administration. The post of president in Slovenia is largely ceremonial.
In January 2008, Slovenia became the first former communist nation to assume the EU presidency.On September 21, 2008, in parliamentary elections, Borut Pahor's Social Democrats won 30.5% of the vote (29 of 90 seats) and Prime Minister Janez Jansa's Slovenian Democratic Party 29.3% (28). Turnout was 62.3%.
In November 2008, Borut Pahor was named prime minister, ending four years in government of a centre-right coalition under Janez Jansa. The parliament approved the nomination on November 7 (59-24). On November 11, Pahor announced his cabinet (subject to approval by parliament) with Samuel Zbogar as foreign minister, Ljubica Jelusic as defense minister, Franci Krizanic as finance minister, and Katarina Kresal as interior minister.
After losing (51–36) in a confidence vote in Sept. 2011, Prime Minister Borut Pahor's government suffered another blow in December, coming in third in parlimentary elections with just over 10% of the vote. Zoran Jankovic's Positive Slovenia won 29.5% of the vote against 25.9% for ex-PM Janez Jansa's Slovenia Democratic Party (SDS) in a surprise upset. Turnout was 63 %.
Slovenia's Credit Rating Is Downgraded as New Prime Minister Takes Office
On January 27, 2012, Fitch, a ratings agency, downgraded Slovenia's credit rating from AA-minus to A. Italy, Spain, Belgium and Cyprus also received downgrades from Fitch Ratings, Inc. Two weeks later, Janez Jansa took office as Prime Minister of Slovenia and announced his cabinet. Jansa and his new cabinet faced some tough challenges, which included following through on budget cuts, rescuing the economy and improving the country's credit rating. Jansa has served as Prime Minister before, from 2004 to 2008.
In the 2012 presidential runoff, Borut Pahor won 67.4% of the vote and Danilo Türk 32.6%, with voter turnout at 42%. A little more than two months later, on Feb.27, 2012, a no-confidence vote in Parliament pushed Alenka Bratušek to the fore; her government was confirmed on March 20.
However, two years later, Prime Minster Bratušek resigned shortly after losing the leadership of her ruling Positive Slovenia party to political rival, Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovic. Bratušek quit her party and called for an early election to be held by summer 2014. In interviews after her resignation, Bratušek hinted that she might form a new party for the election.
Information Please® Database, © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
More on Slovenia from Fact Monster: