Janez Podobnik

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Podobnik in 2015

Janez Podobnik (born 17 September 1959) is a Slovenian conservative politician.

He was born in the small town of Cerkno in western Slovenia, in what was then the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He studied medicine at the University of Ljubljana, where he graduated in 1984. Between 1984 and 1990, he worked as a general physician in Idrija.

He entered politics during the period of democratization known as the Slovenian spring. In 1990, he joined the Slovenian People's Party and became elected as first non-Communist mayor of Idrija after World War II. In 1992, he was elected to the Slovenian National Assembly. During the coalition government between the Slovenian People's Party and the left liberal Liberal Democracy of Slovenia, Podobnik served as chairman of the National Assembly (1996–2000). In 1997, he unsuccessfully ran as president of Slovenia, but was defeated in a run off by the incumbent Milan Kučan.

He was re-elected to the Parliament in 2000, and served as the head of the parliament group of the Slovenian People's Party between 2000 and 2004. In 2003, he was elected as president of the Slovenian People's Party. In 2004, the party entered the centre-right government led by Janez Janša and Podobnik became Minister for Environment. In November 2007, Podobnik resigned as president of the Slovenian People's Party, which was defeated in the parliamentary election in September 2008.

Podobnik is a devout Roman Catholic. He is married and has one child, Rok. His brother, Marjan Podobnik, also formally a politician, was the president of the Slovenian People's Party between 1992 and 2000, and vice-president of the Slovenian Government between 1997 and 2000.


Political offices
Preceded by
Jožef Školč
Speaker of the National Assembly of Slovenia
1996 – 2000
Succeeded by
Borut Pahor
Preceded by
Janez Kopač
Minister of Environment of Slovenia
2004 – 2008
Succeeded by
Karl Erjavec
Party political offices
Preceded by
Franci But
President of the Slovenian People's Party
2003 – 2008
Succeeded by
Bojan Šrot