After Slovenia's independence in 1991 from Yugoslavia, the introduction of local government was one of the most challenging tasks in the new country, as it meant a radical change from the socialist municipal system to the classical European type of local government. Simona Kukovič and Miro Haček offer a comprehensive analysis of the functioning of local government from historical, normative, systemic, and dynamic perspectives. The authors analyze the historical-normative foundations of the existence of local government and, building on this, examine the functional dynamics of the central organs of local government. In particular, they analyze the position of local mayors in terms of role and the powers assigned to the mayor by law, leadership characteristics, the evolution of eligibility, and relations with other local actors. This is followed by an analysis of the municipal council, in which Kukovič and Haček outline the function and responsibilities and highlight some features of the inner workings of this collective decision-making body. The authors devote special attention and a wealth of empirical data to local democracy, which is particularly vibrant, somewhat peculiar, and undoubtedly one of the strongest elements of Slovenia's still relatively fragile democracy. The book thus provides a holistic and thorough overview of local government, which in three decades has become an important part of the political system and, in practice, an important vehicle of local development within Slovenia.
Simona Kukovič is Associate Professor and is affiliated with the School of Advanced Social Studies in Nova Gorica and Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Miro Haček is Professor at the Department of Political Science at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Introduction. Foundations and Backgrounds
Chapter 1. Constitutional and Normative Aspects of Slovenian Local Government
Chapter 2. Evolution of Slovenian Local Government
Chapter 3. Institutional Pillars of Local Government
Chapter 4. Local Democracy: Dynamical Aspects
“This is a path-breaking examination of local governments (based on the experience of Slovenia), -and I can wholeheartedly recommend it to any student of local governments. It is a must read! Their book provides a view of local governments in Slovenia as seen through several lenses: the constitutional pillars, the historical normative perspectives, and through the dynamics of evolution. Their focus on mayors and local councils provides us with a theoretically robust and comprehensive treatment of local governments in this young democracy. Their use of data and data analysis was flawless and insightful.
The discussion on the amount and character of democracy was particularly subtle. Their use of data on direct and indirect democracy and public opinion was impressive. The contrasting fact that most citizens dislike parties and vote for nonpartisan lists was contrasted with the fact that some of the nonpartisan lists contain seasoned politicians from a recognizable party was an ironic finding. What made the rigorous findings of this book particularly valuable and subtle was the authors’ ability to frame their findings in the context of other European local government systems. It is well conceptualized, well written and a delight to read.”
“Following its independence in 1991, Slovenia faced the daunting task of developing a modern system of local government. In this compact volume, Simona Kukovic and Miro Hacek offer a marvelous overview of that process, placing it both in historical perspective and comparative European context. From Ljubljana to Hodos, Slovenia today has over two hundred municipalities of various sizes and organization. A small nation, Slovenia nevertheless sits at the crossroads of modern Europe and offers unique insight into the promise and problems of local self-government. Kukovic and Hecek explain both Slovenia’s failed efforts to establish regional levels of government and also its success in fostering robust forms of local democracy with direct and indirect citizen participation. This volume is a must read for anyone interested in local democracy in Europe and a welcome addition to the literature on Slovenian government and politics.”
“In this book we witness the birth of modern local government in Slovenia as Kukovic & Hacek retrace the challenging task of introducing autonomous local government in a previous socialist communal system. The Peculiar Evolution of Slovenian Local Government truly expands the boundaries of our understanding on the modern European local government and governance, it is a timely and much-needed addition to the current knowledge base in European local government. This is essential reading for all students and scholars of sub national government.”
“This is a very comprehensive, accessible, and informative book on Slovenian local government. It fills a void in the literature by tracing its evolution in recent years and placing it in a comparative perspective. Specialists and scholars will benefit from the rigorous and compelling work of Kukovič and Hacek."