Slovenia is a parliamentary democratic republic with a proportional electoral system. In Slovenia power is vested in the people. All adult citizens of the Republic of Slovenia have the right to vote for representatives of the people in general, multi-party and free elections. Power is divided into the legislative, executive and judicial branches. The holder of the legislative branch is the parliament, which consists of the National Assembly and the National Council. Executive power is vested in the Government and judicial power is separated from both the legislative and the executive powers.
The Slovenian Constitution is the highest legal instrument, and is adopted and amended by the National Assembly according to a special procedure which requires a two-thirds majority. It was adopted on 23 December 1991 and lays down a parliamentary governance system.
This supreme instrument in the hierarchical order is followed by other legal instruments, ranging from the laws adopted by the National Assembly, government decrees implementing laws, regulations, guidelines and orders of the ministries intended to implement laws and government decrees, to the regulations of local self-governing bodies adopted by them to regulate matters within their respective spheres of competence.
The Slovenian Parliament is bicameral, composed of the National Assembly and the National Council. In the National Assembly, there are 88 representatives of political parties and two representatives of the Italian and Hungarian national communities, elected by the people to represent their interests. Members of the National Council nominated and elected by different interest groups in society represent organised social interests and the interests of local communities.
The National Assembly adopts amendments to the Constitution, laws, national programmes, declarations and resolutions. It also adopts its rules of procedure and the state budget, ratifies international treaties and calls referendums. The deputies in the National Assembly elect the Prime Minister and Ministers, the President and Vice-Presidents of the National Assembly and, on the proposal of the President of the Republic, also the Judges of the Constitutional Court, the Governor of the Bank of Slovenia and the Human Rights Ombudsman.
There are 40 members of the National Council, of whom four are representatives of employers, four representatives of employees, four representatives of farmers, craftsmen and independent professions, six representatives of non-commercial activities and 22 representatives of local interests.
The Government wields executive power and is composed of the Prime Minister and 14 Ministers. The Government is responsible to the deputies in the National Assembly, who confirm the Government. The Government directs and coordinates the implementation of state policy, taking into account the provisions of the Constitution, laws and other general acts of the National Assembly.
The Government thus issues regulations and adopts the legal, political, economic, financial, organisational and other measures necessary to ensure the development of the State and the regulation of all areas for which the Republic of Slovenia is responsible. The Government submits proposed laws, the state budget, national programmes and other general acts which determine fundamental and long-term political orientations in particular areas to the National Assembly for adoption.
The Government is headed by the Prime Minister, who is elected by secret ballot by the deputies in the National Assembly with the required majority of their votes. After being elected to office, the Prime Minister proposes to the National Assembly candidates for ministers who must be approved by the deputies. The Prime Minister heads and directs the Government's work, ensures the unity of its political and administrative orientation, coordinates the work of ministers, represents the Government, and convenes and chairs its sessions.
President of the Republic of Slovenia
As the commander-in-chief of the country’s defence forces, the President of the Republic represents and defends the interests of the Republic of Slovenia in relation to other nations. The President is elected by citizens in direct elections for a term of five years.
The President of the Republic calls elections to the National Assembly, promulgates laws, appoints state officials where so required by law, appoints and recalls the ambassadors and envoys of the Republic of Slovenia, accepts credentials of foreign diplomatic representatives, issues instruments of ratification, grants pardons, awards decorations and honorary titles, decides on the opening or closure of missions abroad, nominates the Human Rights Ombudsman, and appoints judges of the Court of Auditors and judges at the European Court of Human Rights.
The judicial function exercised by the judiciary is, along with the executive and legislative functions, one of the three branches of power that ensure the rule of law in Slovenia. The main tasks of the judicial system include deciding on the rights and obligations of citizens in specific cases and deciding on the charges against them. The Slovenian Constitution requires that all courts be impartial, independent and established by law, and judges to be independent in the exercise of their office and bound only by the Constitution and the law.
The uniform judicial system of the Republic of Slovenia is composed of general and specialised courts. Specialised courts engage in matters pertaining to labour, social and administrative law, while the general courts are divided into local, district and higher courts, and the Supreme Court.
Human Rights Ombudsman
The first Slovenian Human Rights Ombudsman was elected in September 1994. The Ombudsman's task is to protect an individual in his/her contacts with state authorities, local self-government bodies and holders of public authority, and to supervise their action. The Ombudsman affords protection to an individual by examining his/her complaints and proposing the rectification of irregularities should the Ombudsman find that the complaint is well founded. The Ombudsman reports to the National Assembly on his/her work.
Slovenian people exercise their right to local self-government in municipalities and other local communities. Municipalities are an equal partner of the State and are managed by three independent bodies — the mayor, the municipal council and the monitoring committee. The mayor and the municipal council members are elected by the people in municipal elections every four years, while the monitoring committee is appointed by municipal councillors. There are 212 municipalities in Slovenia, of which 11 have the status of urban municipalities.