Jože Pučnik’s birthday, the father of Slovenian statehood

This year's Pučnik Symposium, in memory of the Slovene statesman, has been postponed to a later date due to current events. Photo: Demokracija

On Monday, March 9th, 88 years have passed since the birth of Jože Pučnik, the father of Slovenian statehood. He was born on March 9, 1932 in Cresnjevec near Slovenska Bistrica.

His dissident journey began at the Maribor High School. As a student of philosophy and comparative literature, he was imprisoned twice in Communist prisons, including for his article “About the dilemmas in our agriculture” in Perspektiva magazine. After his release from prison, he went to Germany in year 1966, where he studied social sciences again and became a university professor at the University of Lüneburg.

In the 1980s he became a contributor to the “Nova revija” circle, also the famous 57th issue. In the late 1980s, he returned to Slovenia permanently to become the leader of the Demos coalition, becoming the president of the Social Democratic Alliance/Party of Slovenia, the precursor to today’s SDS political party. After the victory of the Demos Coalition in the first multi-party elections, he was the engine of the plebiscite process and on the day of the plebiscite he made the famous sentence: “Yugoslavia is gone, it is Slovenia.”

Unfortunately, his ideal of the completed Slovenian transition did not materialize.