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President Pahor on the 30th anniversary of Demos: The actions of Demos are an inspiration for our acts today and tomorrow

Ljubljana, 2. 12. 2019 | press release

President Borut Pahor hosted a reception at the Presidential Palace today honouring the 30th anniversary of Demos, the coalition of democratically elected parties that played a vital role in Slovenia’s democratisation and independence process. The reception and the ceremonies for the anniversary of the Demos coalition are part of the work to preserve the historical memory of the momentous events thirty years ago, which paved the way to democratic elections and the decision to go forward with independence. The honorary speakers were Dr Hubert Požarnik and Matjaž Šinkovec, and guests of the festivities also heard an address by President Pahor.

President Pahor on the 30th anniversary of Demos: The actions of Demos are an inspiration 
for our acts today and tomorrow
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

In his keynote speech Dr Požarnik said that for its success Demos should be grateful to the huge support from the public, from Slovenes the world over, and from all those who backed the idea of an independent Slovenia. He emphasised that recognition for the achievements should also go to the political left in Slovenia, and to the great support from the entire Slovene nation. “We take strength from and unite around what we share, and what lifts us up as individuals and as a nation,” said Dr Požarnik. Mr Šinkovec thanked the president for his conciliatory efforts in celebrating the momentous events of thirty years ago. As he said in his ceremonial address, one of Demos’s great qualities was that it knew how to overcome conflicts between a position and opposition for major projects in the national interest. “It would be no bad thing if people worked together in good faith, wherever they are on the political map, so that the spirit of Demos can be reawakened, namely a commitment to the values and objectives that Demos set for itself explicitly or implicitly,” concluded Mr Šinkovec.

President Pahor on the 30th anniversary of Demos: The actions of Demos are an inspiration 
for our acts today and tomorrow
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

The president took the opportunity to say that today we are commemorating the unity of thirty years ago, and the leadership role played by Demos, which made a huge contribution to this unity. His assessment was that it was largely Demos’s non-revanchist stance that allowed the opposition at that time to better listen to ideas that were not theirs at first, which could be an inspiration for all of Slovenia’s later political actions. “When I really think about the behaviour at that time of Bučar’s parliament, Peterle’s government, the opposition and the public, I can say that never again – in easier historical circumstances – was there so much dialogue in politics and in the public as there was then,” remembered President Pahor. “Today we sorely miss such dialogue, as there is less of it than we need, particularly from the perspective of thirty years of experience,” said the president. His assessment is that we learned from that time that great ideas demand great dialogue, to be able to convince the many – as when the idea was first decided on in December 1990, and then six months later was defended collectively against military aggression. “There is a historical message here that is not merely the subject of our nostalgia at this event, but can also be an inspiration for our actions today and tomorrow,” he added, emphasising that it requires a good deal of openness and breadth of thinking on both sides. “When this symbiosis occurs, the nation is ready for great shifts that will make the lives of its children and grandchildren better and easier,” concluded the president in his address, before thanking all those who played a part in the Demos decisions of that time, which today we can all celebrate.

President Pahor on the 30th anniversary of Demos: The actions of Demos are an inspiration 
for our acts today and tomorrow
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Guests were then given a performance of the songs Young Eyes and Slovenia, I Love You by vocalist Eva Kovačič and guitarist Maj Špacapan, two talented students from the jazz and pop department at the Ljubljana Conservatory of Music and Ballet, where they work under the mentorship of Prof Ivan Špacapan.

President Pahor has to date organised festivities to mark the 30th anniversaries of the following:

- the founding of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights,
- the 1989 May Declaration on a sovereign state for the Slovene nation,
- the planting of the Linden of Reconciliation at Ljubljana’s Žale cemetery,
- the proclamation of amendments to the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia.

The next to be celebrated will be the 30th anniversary of the walk-out of the Slovenian delegation from the 14th Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia.

President Pahor on the 30th anniversary of Demos: The actions of Demos are an inspiration 
for our acts today and tomorrow
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA