STA, 7 January 2019 - US First Lady Melania Trump tops the list of the 100 most influential Slovenians compiled by the right-leaning magazine Reporter, followed by UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin, and the three most influential politicians - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, President Borut Pahor and parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan.
The top five are followed by Slovenia's first President Milan Kučan, former boss of pharma company Lek Mojmir Urlep, now a state secretary in the prime minister's office.
The top ten are rounded off by Stojan Petrič of the Idrija-based industrial conglomerate Kolektor, Gregor Golobič, the founder of the now defunct Zares party and aide to late Slovenian leader Janez Drnovšek, and the head of the opposition Democrats (SDS) Janez Janša.
After Melania Trump, the most influential Slovenian woman is Alenka Bratušek, Slovenia's first female prime minister who now serves as the infrastructure minister in the minority government of Marjan Šarec and leads the party bearing her name.
The only athlete on the list is the teen basketball sensation Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA, who rounds off the entire list in 100th place.
In an accompanying commentary, editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla notes that there are only 15 persons who found themselves on the list of 100 most influential Slovenians compiled by Mag, the predecessor of Reporter, twenty years ago.
In 1998, the second most influential Slovenian was Kučan, who was still the head of state then. Kučan, who ended his presidency in 2002, is still very high on this year's list, in sixth spot.
Kučan is still among the top ten but his influence has diminished somewhat since, but he still has a strong informal influence, also maintained through his left-leaning Forum 21 organisation.
Šurla says that Forum 21 is a network built around the former Communist Party and its younger supporters which has survived three decades of transition. Kučan will soon celebrate his 78th birthday, but he is still very active, Šurla says.
The most influential politicians are unsuprisingly the prime minister, president and parliamentary speaker, who have a strong formal influence by default, regardless of who actually holds the post.
Although he is a political novice, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec is the most influential politician, who has the opportunity to increase influence on a daily basis in addition to gaining political experience, Šurla says.
Although he has not been at the helm of the government since 2013, the head of the opposition Democrats (SDS) Janez Janša remains rather influential, rounding off the top ten.
The fact that Janša is not able to form a government despite being relative election winner diminishes his political power, while he is still trying to keep the role of political hegemon right from the centre, the commentator says.
The most influential business executive is Petrič, who is not only controlling a group which includes the newspaper publisher Delo, he is also quite wealthy and his informal connections lead to the very top of Slovenian politics.
The top two persons on the list are nevertheless Slovenians who are influential on the global and European scale, Šurla notes
The influence of Melania Trump at the global level is incomparably stronger than of any politician or business executive in her native country, as she can have a considerable influence on the decisions by President Donald Trump.
Since football is still the most popular sport in the world, right behind Melania Trump is Aleksander Čeferin, the president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
Speaking about the importance and influence of the post is the fact that the organisation's budget in a four-year term of an UEFA president stands at a whopping EUR 12.3bn.
"Slovenians are actually not very well aware yet how important posts these two compatriots hold," Šurla finds.