Borut Pahor: Wikis


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Borut Pahor

Assumed office 
21 November 2008
Preceded by Janez Janša

Born 2 November 1963 (1963-11-02) (age 46)
Postojna, Yugoslavia (now Slovenia)
Political party Social Democrats (1990–present)
Other political
League of Communists of Slovenia (Before 1990)
Alma mater University of Ljubljana

Borut Pahor (born 2 November 1963) is a Slovenian politician. He is the current Prime Minister of Slovenia and president of the Social Democrats party.



Pahor was born in Postojna, then part of the former Yugoslavia. He spent his childhood in the town of Šempeter near Nova Gorica on the border with Italy. He attended Nova Gorica Grammar School, and in 1983 he enrolled to the University of Ljubljana, where he studied public policy and political science at the Faculty of Sociology, Political Science and Journalism (FSPN, now known as Faculty for Social Sciences, FDV). He graduated in 1987 with a thesis on peace negotiations between members of the Non-Aligned Movement. His B.A. thesis was awarded the Student Prešeren Award, the highest academic award for students in Slovenia.


Early political career

Pahor became involved in party politics already in high school. At the age of 15, he became the chairman of the high school student's section of the Alliance of Socialist Youth of Slovenia, the autonomous youth branch of the Communist Party. In his college years, Pahor joined the ruling League of Communists of Slovenia. In 1987, he ran for the Presidency of University Section of the Alliance of the Socialist Youth of Slovenia. This internal election was important, as it was the first elections in Yugoslavia organized entirely according to democratic principles.[1] In the election, in which the members could freely choose between two antagonistic teams, Pahor's team lost to a more liberal fraction. As a consequence, the Youth Alliance emancipated from the control of the Communist Party: a process that resulted in the formation of the Liberal Democratic Party in 1990. Due to this shift, Pahor continued his political career in the main apparatus of the Communist Party.

He rose to prominence in the late 1980s, when he became one of the strongest supporters of the reformist wing of the Communist party, led by Milan Kučan and Ciril Ribičič. During the political crisis caused by the so-called Ljubljana trial in the spring and summer of 1988, Pahor publicly proposed that the Communist Party renounce the monopoly over the Slovenian political life by allowing political pluralism.

In 1989, Pahor co-founded and chaired the Democratic Forum, a youth section within the Slovenian Communist Party established as a counter-force to the Alliance of Socialist Youth, which was now already openly opposing the Communists' policies. The same year, he was appointed to the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Slovenia, thus becoming the youngest member of this body in its history. In 1990, he participated in the Slovenian delegation at the last Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia in Belgrade.

The 1990s

In the first free elections in Slovenia in April 1990, in which the Communists were defeated by the Democratic Opposition of Slovenia (DEMOS), Pahor was elected in the Slovenian Parliament on the list of the League of Communists - Party of Democratic Reform. As the party continued to lose support during the whole 1990s, falling under 10% of electoral support in 1996, Pahor advocated a more reformist policy within the party. In 1997, he was elected as its president on a Third way-centrist platform.

In 1997, he was involved in the attempt of creating a common left wing government between Pahor's United List of Social Democrats, the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia, the Slovenian National Party, and the Pensioner's Party. He was proposed as Minister of Foreign Affairs in this left wing coalition government, but the proposal failed to gain a majority in the parliament. Instead, the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia formed a coalition with the conservative Slovenian People's Party, based on a centrist platform, which ruled until 2000. Pahor's Social Democratic party remained in opposition, although it supported the government in several key decisions.

Forging a moderate left

In 2000, Pahor led his party in the coalition with the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia led by Janez Drnovšek. Pahor was elected as the chairman of the Slovenian National Assembly (the lower house of the Slovenian Parliament). This was his first important institutional office. During this period, he distinguished himself with a moderate and non-partisan behaviour, which gained him the respect of large sectors of the centre right opposition. As the Chairman of the Parliament, he pushed for a public commemoration in the memory of the deceased anti-Communist dissident Jože Pučnik, which was initially opposed by the more radical members of the ruling left wing coalition.[2]

In the same time, Pahor also clashed with far left sectors within his own party over the issue of Slovenia's NATO membership. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Pahor remained an outspoken supporter of Slovenia's entry in this military alliance, which was opposed by several left wing sectors of the society. In 2003, these sectors formed the Forum for the Left, joined by several prominent members of Pahor's party, which formulated a left wing critique of the ruling coalition, harshly criticizing Pahor's own role in it.

In June 2004, he was elected as member of the European Parliament. In October of the same year, the centre-left coalition lost to the liberal conservative Slovenian Democratic Party and its right wing allies. In the first years of Janez Janša's centre right government, Pahor openly polemized with Anton Rop, the leader of the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia, over the opposition strategy towards the government. In the polemics, which soon became known to the public as the "Dear Tone, Dear Borut Discussion" (after the opening lines of the open letters exchanged by two left wing leaders),[3] Pahor opted for a more constructive opposition. In 2006, Pahor's Social Democrats entered an agreement with the ruling coalition party for the collaboration in the economic reform policies.[4] The agreement, known as Partnership for Development, eventually failed in 2008.

Due to the gradual dissolution of the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia, by 2007 the Social Democrats became the second largest political force in Slovenia, and Pahor thus became the non-formal leader of the left wing opposition. The same year, he considered running for the presidential elections, in which he was favoured by the polls. However, due to the high ranking of his party, he decided to support the presidential candidate Danilo Turk, and continue to lead the Social Democrats to the parliamentary elections of 2008.

In government

In 2008, the Social Democrats made a coalition agreement with two other centre-left opposition parties, the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia and Zares. In the parliamentary elections of 2008, these parties defeated the Slovenian Democratic Party and formed a government headed by Pahor.

Private life

Pahor has a son, Luka, with his unmarried partner Tanja Pečar. Beside Slovene, he is fluent in Serbo-Croatian, Italian, English and French.


External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Janez Kocijančič
President of the Social Democrats
Political offices
Preceded by
Janez Podobnik
Chairman of the National Assembly
Succeeded by
Feri Horvat
Preceded by
Janez Janša
Prime Minister of Slovenia


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