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Thirty-Two Years Ago, Slovenians Said A Resounding No To Yugoslavia And The One-Party System

On the 23rd of December 1990, the Slovenian people decided on the possible separation from the former common state of Yugoslavia and the forming of our own independent Slovenia. At the plebiscite, when asked, “Should the Republic of Slovenia become an independent and sovereign state?” 95 percent of the electorate, or 88.5 percent of all Slovenians, voted yes. The turnout was a record 93.2 percent of all eligible voters. Nine out of ten voters, therefore, voted in favour of an independent Slovenian in the plebiscite.

“At the plebiscite, Slovenians proved that we are a historic nation. We got our own country and thus the opportunity from God and history to use all the potential that the Slovenian national has as the masters of our own land, and the potential was great,” the President of the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS), Janez Janša, said a few years ago, on the anniversary of the plebiscite. Unfortunately, 32 years after Slovenians decided to secede from the former common state of Yugoslavia and form an independent Slovenia, we seem to be squandering a lot of potentials. The political party for which an independent Slovenia was not the preferred choice is still ruling in this land, which, of course, is not bringing our country to prosper in all its glory.

At the end of the 1980s, Yugoslavia was in the throes of an economic crisis, with 11,000 percent inflation, and facing difficult social conditions and poor relations with the Yugoslav federation. On the other hand, despite the repression, Slovenia was undergoing a process of liberalisation, a revival of civil society, and a massive public debate on democracy, political pluralism, human rights and freedoms, spurred on by the trial against Janez Janša, Ivan Borštner, David Tasič, and Franci Zavrl. On the 8th of May 1989, at a mass rally in support of Janša, the May Declaration (Majniška deklaracija) was read for the first time in Ljubljana’s Congress Square, in which the then-opposition demanded a democratic and sovereign Slovenia and respect for human rights. The Committee for the Protection of Human Rights, headed by Igor Bavčar, was a powerful factor in the liberalisation of the political situation and the most popular organisation of the Slovenian civil society during the Slovenian spring, as it brought together a group of people who, in the following months, would go on to found the first Slovenian political parties after the year 1945. In the autumn of 1989, the democratic opposition came together to form the DEMOS coalition (Demokratična opozicija Slovenije – the Democratic Opposition of Slovenia), led by Dr Jože Pučnik, which went on to win the first multi-party elections after the Second World War, on the 8th of April 1990.

The voters were deciding on the question of whether the Republic of Slovenia should become an independent and sovereign state

The DEMOS government strengthened the autonomous powers of the Republic of Slovenia through constitutional amendments and the Declaration on the Sovereignty of the State of the Republic of Slovenia of the 2nd of June 1990, paving the way for independence. It was motivated to do so mainly because of the aggravated situation in Yugoslavia, the economic, social and national tensions across the country, the Serbian centralist tendencies and the lack of democracy. The Socialist Party of Slovenia intervened in the party disputes surrounding the departure from Yugoslavia at the end of September 1990 with a proposal for a plebiscite on independence and autonomy. The leading Slovenian politicians at the time sought to achieve independence by adopting a constitution that would include the articles of independence, which would then be approved in a referendum. The plan was for Slovenia to formally secede from Yugoslavia as early as December 1990.

“Yugoslavia is no more. Now, it is about Slovenia.”

The idea of a plebiscite was then presented on the 10th of November 1990, at a meeting of the DEMOS parliamentary club in Poljče, where they also agreed on the 23rd of December as the date of the plebiscite. The coordination between the parties was successful, and the plebiscite law was adopted by the delegates with 203 votes in favour, none against, and four abstentions. Thus, on the 6th of December 1990, the Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Plebiscite on the Sovereignty and Independence of the Republic of Slovenia Act. Despite threats from Belgrade, the plebiscite was held on Sunday, the 23rd of December 1990, and voters decided in favour of independence from Yugoslavia and the creation of a new state – a plebiscite was accompanied by a festive mood throughout Slovenia. The famous words of Dr Jože Pučnik, spoken on the day of the plebiscite in the Cankar Congress Hall, while waiting for the results of the vote, echoed throughout Slovenia: “Yugoslavia is no more. Now, it is about Slovenia.” An article about his words is available (in Slovenian) here.

Christmas is the guarantee of the resurrection!

“They used to insult us by calling us the banana republic – today, we are not even that; we are the site of a fire, created by the tycoons turned oligarchs,” wrote historian and professor Dr Stane Granda, adding that the country is being controlled now more than it has ever been in its entire thirty years. Their main pillars of support are the leftists. Amidst the ashes is the tiny Cinderella of Democracy, struggling for air and survival. Fortunately, it has long and resilient roots. The current authorities are abusing the greatest value of humanity, which is freedom. They give 300 euros to the poor, in order to take from them 500 euros or more. In the name of the rising prices that they created before the war in Ukraine. This, Grande said, is just an excuse for them to steal., The worst is happening to the elderly and the sick. They are being sent to the asylums, like in the olden days. The current powers are deliberately destroying the middle class because those who are the least dangerous to any authority are those who are struggling to survive on a day-to-day basis. Poverty and the infirm old people are the most disgusting examples of slavery: this is what Freedom is creating for us. The process would have been faster if they would not have had so much work to do with dismantling the structures of the previous authorities and fighting amongst themselves.

They are celebrating the anniversary of independence while abolishing the museum that is dedicated to it

“Their cynicism is immeasurable at every turn. They are celebrating the anniversary of our country’s independence while at the same time abolishing the museum dedicated to it. This is no longer politics but the pathology of freedom. Something strange, unusual, and painful is happening in the society of dance and high culture, represented by the failed dilettantes of the former red bourgeoise, clothed in the cloaks of civil society, mainly by the unrecognised ‘geniuses’ of Ljubljana. But Christmas is the herald of the resurrection. It can be stopped, obstructed, but it comes more insistently and fearlessly time and time again. The root of democracy does not freeze over, the heat does not destroy it. It will pluck out the tenderest dew and sprout anew. From its branches will fly the goshawks and eagles of freedom, and drive the pigeons and their kind from whence they came and where they belong: to the dumpsite of humanity and history,” Granda also stressed.

The plebiscite was an endorsement of the DEMOS politics – a multi-party system and the abolition of communism

A few years ago, professor Granda already pointed out on Radio Ognjišče that we are witnessing a distortion of historical facts – and it seems that we are witnessing it even more today. Granda pointed out examples of the distortion of historical facts: claims that the plebiscite was only about Slovenian independence, that it was not for multipartyism, and that it was not against communism. No, this is much more complex! The role of the Church, the role of the parties and the role of the Parliament mean that this was a complex Slovenian historical process that was only possible in a favourable, mature international context. These things should never be considered separately, Granda said. “The plebiscite was a confirmation of the policy of DEMOS, that is, the multi-party system and the abolition of communism,” Granda explained at the time, stressing that Slovenian independence would not have happened if it had not been for the collapse of communism, which he believed was a prerequisite.

Sara Bertoncelj

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