Slovenia Celebrates the Independence and Unity Day

Since 1991, Slovenia has been annually celebrating the Independence and Unity Day (Slovene: Dan samostojnosti in enotnosti) on 26 December. On this day, in 1990, the results of the referendum held on 23 December were announced. According to them, 95% of electors voted for the independence of Slovenia. That referendum was an important step on the way to Slovenia’s withdrawal from Yugoslavia and proclaiming the state sovereignty.

“Long live the day when we determine the destiny of our country,” Branko Maksimovič, a TV Dnevnik host, addressed the audience on 23 December 1990. In that year, 93.2% of all persons having the right to vote came to the polling stations. After 10:00 p.m., it was clear that the referendum had been held successfully. The independence of Slovenia was supported by 95% of the electors who took part in the voting, or 88.5% of all voters in the country. However, the parliament officially announced the results of the referendum only in 3 days—on 26 December. Therefore, the Slovenes celebrate the Independence and Unity Day on this very date.

The main slogan of the campaign was the expression “Slovenia Is My Land, Is Our Country.” It reminded people that “a country with two million hard-working residents should not be afraid of an independent future.”

Mass media played a big role. They informed people, described the advantages of independence, while studying their moods.

More than 200 Slovenian and foreign journalists covered the results of the referendum. In the ‘Cankarjev Dom’ Palace of Culture, the leading Slovenian politicians, party leaders and representatives of public opinion met the historic moment with the joyful faces, songs and thoughts about the future. Zdravljica, the national anthem of Slovenia, sounded in the hall. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitrij Rupel brought a draft of the Slovenian passport. The full recording of the event broadcast is preserved in the archives of RTV Slovenija.