Despite the very clear decision of the Slovenian nation at the plebiscite in December 1990, many politicians still had strange ideas about the implementation of this historic decision. As many times before and also after, the ideological leader of such “internationalist” ideas was Milan Kučan. During his speech at the formal sitting of the Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, he already pointed out that “The goal is not to have a border on the rivers Kolpa and Sotla, the goal is to overcome borders!”
Of course, Kučan could not directly deny the outcome of the plebiscite, which obviously disappointed him personally, but he diplomatically paved the way for the relativisation of a clear decision on the independence of the new Slovenian state. To thwart the Demos party’s plans, he pointed out that “matters of crucial importance cannot be decided by a simple majority or a mechanical overvote, but only by the general consent of all political forces, represented in parliament.” It is clear that the government and the coalition of the newly created state would not have been able to work effectively if they had been required to constantly depend on the “universal consent” (especially considering the opposition, whose main task was harassment).
Kučan was in favour of a new agreement of the nations
Kučan suggested that the “economic, political, constitutional and state crisis in Yugoslavia can be resolved only with a NEW AGREEMENT of the nations or their republics, on the basis of their right to self-determination…” For Kučan, “the severance of old ties and connections that limited Slovenia’s independence and sovereignty also represent an attempt to establish and seek NEW CONNECTIONS with all those who would be willing to connect on the basis of real and not ideological interests. The six-month deadline set for us by the plebiscite law is therefore NOT ONLY A DEPARTURE, but also an attempt to form a NEW COMMUNITY.”
It was quite difficult for us deputies to listen to Kučan faking ignorance, saying that the result of the plebiscite means a new agreement of the nations after the true meaning of the result of the plebiscite was clearly announced by Jože Pučnik himself with the words: “Yugoslavia is no more!” I myself also had a completely different understanding of the plebiscite results than Kučan, which is also evident from my interview for the magazine Slovenske brazde from January 1991:
Anton Tomažič, member of the Slovenian Democratic Union (Slovenska demokratična zveza) and President of the Legislative and Legal Commission: “I am sorry that the weekly Demokracija (Democracy) is no longer being published. I was emotionally attached to this newspaper, as it was an important tool for us in the fight against the monopoly political bloc at the time of the formation of the parties. Demokracija was widely open and invaluable to the democratic opposition of Slovenia in the pre-election fight. Why did it die? I do not think that anyone could give a short answer to that question… Well, anyway… Maybe from now on, the magazine Slovenske brazde will be all the more important?
WE TALKED TO ANTON TOMAŽIČ, WHO IS A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC AND PRESIDENT OF THE LEGISLATIVE AND LEGAL COMMISSION. HE HAS AN ACADEMIC TITLE: SPECIALIST FOR INVESTMENT WORK ABROAD. HE WAS EMPLOYED IN LITOSTROJ AS A LEGAL ADVISER TO THE GENERAL DIRECTOR, AND FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS, HE HAS OWNED AN INDEPENDENT COMPANY FOR INTRODUCING COMPUTING IN LAW AND IUS SOFTWARE. IN HIS FREE TIME, HE USED TO DO A LOT OF PAINTING AND MOUNTAINEERING (HE IS ALSO AN EXPERIENCED MOUNTAIN GUIDE). THE LAST SENTENCE IS IN THE PAST TENSE BECAUSE, AS HE SAYS, HE HAS NO MORE FREE TIME LEFT NOW. HE NEVER DEALT WITH POLITICS (HE DID NOT HAVE A RED BOOKLET…) UNTIL THE 11TH OF JANUARY 1989, WHEN HE BECAME A MEMBER OF THE SLOVENIAN DEMOCRATIC UNION. HE IS NOW A MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD OF THE SAID PARTY AND HEAD OF THE MUNICIPAL COMMITTEE IN DOMŽALE.
Mr Tomažič, how do you, as the President of the Legislative and Legal Commission, assess the implementation of the plebiscite decision, especially in the field of the legal system?
I believe that we should show more determination in implementing the decision to secede from Yugoslavia. I am disappointed with the draft of Amendment 99 because it insists on the now already tried way of “repealing” federal laws with Slovenian constitutional laws while maintaining the current ambiguity and confusion over by-laws. Unfortunately, the Constitutional Commission did not accept the proposal of the Legislative and Legal Commission that the Slovenian Assembly, the Executive Council and administrative bodies be given direct competence to repeal the regulations of the relevant federal bodies within their competence. I hope that at least in the public debate, people will soon realise that such a consistent and absolute priority of the republic’s legislation over the federal one is a necessity and that the Federal Constitutional Court is no longer the authority for Slovenia at all.
And why do you think your proposal was not accepted?
As far as I know, the negative position has not been formed by the government as a whole. However, I have a feeling that some of its members are afraid of the responsibility that would fall on them with such an arrangement. Then they would no longer be able to make excuses due to the federal law…
When you mentioned the plebiscite, you used the term “secession”. Was that deliberate, or was it a mistake?
It was absolutely deliberate! For me, the decision in the plebiscite was, of course, a decision to secede. Politicians, lawyers and diplomats must, of course, sometimes use other terms for tactical reasons, but the fact is that no country can be independent and sovereign if it is included in another country.
The announcement also talks about possible connections with other nations, of a possible confederation…?
But only after another referendum! No state body, not even the Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, may take the decision to form any sort of confederation, as this would circumvent the decision of the people in Slovenia who want to live in an independent state. And a confederation, however loose, always limits sovereignty and independence.
The above is an excerpt from the book Anton Tomažič: In the Embrace of the Slovenian Spring (Anton Tomažič: V objemu slovenske pomladi)