Freedom in the World
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Prime Minister Borut Pahor’s government came under attack in the fall of 2009 from a number of trade unions demanding better pay or an increase in the minimum wage rate, both of which are opposed by business groups. The long-awaited construction of a mosque in Ljubljana was delayed again in 2009 as the Islamic Community in Slovenia continued to face challenges. Meanwhile, a number of lingering issues kept Slovenia and Croatia from resolving a long-running border dispute, despite a tentative agreement made between Pahor and his Croatian counterpart in September.
Slovenia’s most important foreign policy problem is resolving its 18-year-old border dispute with neighboring Croatia. The dispute concerns the delineation of the two countries’ maritime border in the Bay of Piran, and parts of their common territorial border. In September 2009, Pahor and his Croatian counterpart, Jadranka Kosor, agreed to submit the dispute to international arbitration, pending ratification of their agreement by both states’ parliaments. However, the two parliaments had not endorsed the agreement by year’s end.
Slovenia is an electoral democracy. The country has a bicameral Parliament: members of the 90-seat National Assembly, which chooses the prime minister, are elected to four-year terms; and the 40-seat National Council, a largely advisory body, represents professional groups and local interests. The president is directly elected for up to two five-year terms. Elections since independence have been considered free and fair. Slovenia’s main political parties are the center-left SD, led by current Prime Minister Borut Pahor, and the center-right SDS of former prime minister Janez Jansa. Such large parties generally govern in coalition with smaller parties.