Slovenia is one of the youngest European countries, becoming an independent state in 1991, after the collapse of Yugoslavia. Soon after, Slovenia became the 176th member of the United Nations and an associate member of the European Union. Located in Central Europe, Slovenia is bordered by Italy, Croatia, Hungary, and Austria as well as the Adriatic Sea to the southwest.
The government of Slovenia is organized under a representative democratic republic with a parliamentary system. This system has been in place since just before the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1992. Its Constitution, adopted in December of 1991, establishes 3 branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. According to this document, Slovenia is headed by both a President and a Prime Minister. This article takes a closer look at the various components of the government of Slovenia.
Executive Branch of the Government of Slovenia
The executive branch is made up of the President, Prime Minister and Cabinet of Ministers. It is often referred to as the Government of Slovenia.
The President acts primarily as a national figurehead for the country. The person in this position is elected by the general population to serve a term of 5 years and has a limit of 2 consecutive terms. The President nominates the Prime Minister, usually choosing the leader of the political party with majority rule in the National Assembly. Additionally, the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the military.
The Prime Minister of Slovenia has more political power than the President. The person in this position is nominated by the President and officially elected by the National Assembly. The Prime Minister is responsible for overseeing the duties of the Cabinet of Ministers, ensuring that legislation is correctly carried out, and answering to Parliament. Additionally, this position may introduce bills to Parliament, draft the national budget, and manage international affairs.
Legislative Branch of the Government of Slovenia
The Slovenian Parliament is made up of the National Assembly and the National Council. They carry out all legislative duties.
The National Assembly, being the upper house of Parliament, is generally referred to as the national Parliament. It consists of 90 members, who are elected to serve 4-year terms. National Assembly elections take place on the basis of party-list proportional representation for 88 members and 2 members are elected by the Italian and Hungarian-speaking minority population. These 2 representatives hold absolute veto power for legislation concerning their ethnic groups. Currently, the Modern Centre Party has majority rule, holding 35 seats.
The National Council is made up of 40 members, which are elected to represent the following interests: local (22), non-commercial activities (6), employees (4), employers (4), and independent professionals (4). While these individuals have legislative responsibilities, they do not vote to pass legislation. National Council members serve 5-year terms and are not elected by the general population. This partial involvement with the National Assembly is why the Constitution identifies the legislative branch of Slovenia as being incompletely bicameral.
Judicial Branch of the Government of Slovenia
The judicial branch of Slovenia works independently of the executive and legislative branches. It consists of 3 types of courts. The Ordinary Courts of first instance are divided into specializations, including civil, criminal, administrative, labor, and social security. These courts exist at local and district levels. The second level is Appellate Courts. The highest courts in the country are the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. The Supreme Court is the court of final appeal and the Constitutional Court hears cases involving constitutional interpretation.