The modern history of Slovenia starts in the 6th century when ancestors of the present day Slovenes settled in the area. In 976 the Emperor Otto I (the Great) absorbed the area into the Holy Roman Empire and in the 14th Century it became part of the Hapsburg Empire.
In the 16th century the country suffered terribly under the Ottoman Hapsburg wars and then under further conflict between the Hapsburgs and the Venetian Republic.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the country saw a more peaceful time, although between 1805 and 1813 it did become part of Napoleon’s French Empire. One result, though, was that the autonomous Illyrian Province under Napoleon was able to establish its capital at Ljubljana, the modern capital of Slovenia.
In 1813, after a short war between France and Austria, the area became part of the Austrian Empire.
In 1848 the first stirrings of Slovenian nationalism resulted in an uprising by the United Slovenia movement, but it was short lived. Nevertheless it started a broader movement which was to gain momentum.
Although the Great War of 1914 to 1918 brought massive turmoil, at the end of the war the Slovene People’s Party (SLS) and others launched a movement of self determination which eventually led to the establishment of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
Throughout the inter-war years the SLS was to become the dominant party. In 1929 the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
The Second World War brought fresh turmoil and further fighting which saw the rise of the communist party under Marshall Josip Tito.
In 1945 the SLS was dissolved by the new communist government, the Communist Party of Slovenia, which was part of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia.
The country became part of a single party communist state until the 1980s when a faction of the Slovenian Communist Party under Milan Kučan started gradual reforms towards market socialism and political pluralism.
The years of 1987 and 1988 saw a series of clashes between the newly emerging civil society and the communist government which subsequently led to the Slovenian Spring.
By March 1990 a series of internal disputes between the Slovenian Communists and the Serbian Communists led the Slovenian Assembly to change the title of the state to the Republic of Slovenia, dropping the word Socialist.
With changes happening rapidly the first multi-party elections took place in April 1990. No one party won a majority of the seats in the 80 seat National Assembly but the Democratic Opposition of Slovenia (DEMOS) a coalition of parties was able to form a government under the Slovene Christian Democrats leader, Lojze Peterle.
On 25th June 1991 the new coalition government declared independence from the former Yugoslavia and after a tend day war the Yugoslavian army withdrew.
DEMOS proved to be fractious and by 1992 it was falling apart with internal disputes. Fresh elections were called and Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS) won 22 of the 90 seats in the National Assembly and formed a coalition government under its leader Janez Drnovšek.
Despite the difficulties of keeping the government together and frequent fallings out, the LDS went on to win the 1996 and 2000 general elections. They were instrumental in creating the parliamentary democracy we see today.
The LDS lost the 2004 general election and suffered a series of factional splits. The centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) were the winners of the 2004 election, taking 29 seats and went on to form a four party coalition under Prime Minister Janez Janša.
In May 2004 Slovenia successfully passed all the tests for and became a full member of both the European Union (EU) and NATO.
In 2008 there was another change of government. This time it was the turn of the centre-left Social Democrats (SD). They took 29 of the 90 seats in the national assembly and formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS), the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS) and Zares.
By 2011 the coalition was falling apart with DeSUS and Zares leaving the coalition. The subsequent minority government lost a vote of confidence in September, precipitating elections on 4th December.
Although Zoran Janković’s Positive Slovenia won the largest number of seats in the 2011 parliamentary election they were unable to turn this into a coalition government. After a month of discussions the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) under the leadership of Janez Janša formed a coalition government with the Slovenian People’s Party (SLS), the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS) and Gregor Virant’s Civic List (LGV). The new government took office in mid February 2012 with a precarious majority of one in the 90 seat National Assembly.
The President is elected by popular vote for a five year term.
The bicameral parliament consists of the National Council or Drzavni Svet which has 40 members indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve five-year terms. Also the National Assembly or Drzavni Zbor which has 90 seats of which 40 members are directly elected and 50 are elected on a proportional basis to serve four year terms.
The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2016 places Slovenia at joint 31st out of 176 countries with a CPI 2016 score of 61 (where 100 is least corrupt).