Two Months After Vote and No Coalition Formed, President Pahor Calls for National Unity

By , 06 Aug 2018, 08:54 AM Politics
President Pahor speaks at the event in Ljutomer marking the 150th anniversary of the first tabor President Pahor speaks at the event in Ljutomer marking the 150th anniversary of the first tabor President Pahor's Twitter account

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STA, 5 August 2018 - President Borut Pahor issued a call for political unity in a speech Sunday marking the 150th anniversary of a proto-independence movement, noting that the nation needed to know how to stand together so as to better withstand major historical shifts when they occur. 

Like other nations, Slovenians have typically been politically divided, "but when it comes to major historical achievements ... we have to stand together," he said.

Delivering the appeal at the apex of coalition building two months after the election, Pahor made his case for unity while also pointing out this was not a moment in history that required unity at all cost.

He said Slovenians displayed national unity during independence efforts, which showed that "Slovenians have been trained by history to make out the historical circumstances when run-of-the-mill political bickering must evolve into cooperation, which in turn must grow into national consciousness."

Such unity will also be required the next time major historical shifts happen, and it is political cooperation that "keeps [the nation] fit for national unity," he said, in an apparent reference to the current political situation.

There are no grounds at this point to call for the kind of unity that was required when Slovenia was striving for independence, but "we must remain fit [for political unity] if a potentially unfavourable development of European and global processes requires that."

"Our political community must strive to be mature and for people's trust. Political fighting and disputes are nothing special provided the ability to cooperate surfaces again and again," according to the president.

It would therefore be comforting if "we are capable of replacing political opposition with political cooperation" at least when it comes to major issues, but in any case the nation must "deflect any hatred and nurture respect. Hatred, within the nation's ranks and towards others, would be pernicious for our destiny," he said.

Pahor delivered the address at a ceremony in Ljutomer marking the 150th anniversary of the first tabor (Slovenian for camp or jamboree), the first of several large-scale political gatherings between 1868 and 1871 that formulated the demand for linguistic equality of the Slovenian language in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The speech comes almost exactly two months after a general election that produced a clear winner, the Democratic Party (SDS), which, despite securing 26% of the vote, cannot put together a coalition because it has been ostracised by the majority of other parties due to its extremist rhetoric and policy proposals.

Pahor has directly and indirectly indicated on several occasions that it would be best for Slovenia to get a strong government that would include the biggest parties, the SDS included. He has also urged other parties to end the policy of excluding the SDS.

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