Ex-Slovenian president and premier Drnovsek dead

February 23rd, 2008 - 7:50 pm ICT by admin  

Ljubljana, Feb 23 (DPA) Slovenia’s former prime minister and president,Janez Drnovsek, died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. He was 57. Drnovsek was the man behind Slovenia’s transformation from a federal unit of the Communist Yugoslavia to a successful market-driven country that currently presides over the European Union.

He had served as Slovenia’s representative in Yugoslavia’s last collective presidency and was, as an outspoken critic of the federation, strongly disliked by the old-guard communists who considered the federation sacred.

After his country won a brief, 10-day war for independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Drnovsek had served as its prime minister with only one brief interruption between 1992 and 2002, when he was elected to the stately position of the president.

During his term, which ended late in 2007, he navigated an amazing circle - from an efficient technocrat to a bread-baking vegan who flirted with Buddhism and was a preacher of the new way, living in a cottage instead of the presidential residence.

During the past five years, he quit his Liberal Democracy party and founded the Movement for Justice and Development, a non-political organisation that seeks to “raise human consciousness and make the world a better place”.

In a bid to achieve his objective, he fought discrimination of marginalized ethnic groups such as the Roma and tried launching initiatives to resolve the problems of Darfur and Kosovo.

He had been diagnosed with cancer a long time ago and had to undergo kidney-removal surgery in 1999. Though the cancerous growth re-emerged two years later, he loudly denounced classical medicine and turned to alternative therapy and spirituality.

Drnovsek’s unpredictable turns had alienated him from the Slovenian political mainstream, but still endeared him to many ordinary Slovenians.

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