Janez Drnovšek (born May 17, 1950) is a Slovenian politician and statesman, born in Celje, then part of Yugoslavia, today in Slovenia.
Janez Drnovšek graduated with a degree in economics in 1973, and defended M.Sc thesis in 1981. He defended his Ph.D. dissertation in 1986. Meanwhile he worked at a construction company, then at a bank branch in his home region Zasavje (central Slovenia, at the banks of the Sava river) and also one year as an economic advisor at the Yugoslav embassy in Cairo, Egypt. In 1986 he was chosen to be a delegate at the Slovenian republic assembly (parliament) and also the chamber of republics and provinces of Yugoslav parliament.
In 1989 Stane Dolanc , a Slovenian representative to the collective presidency of Yugoslavia, retired. The Slovenian government, aware of upcoming democratisation, decided to organize elections between two candidates for the position. Drnovšek, till then rather unknown to the public, defeated Marko Bulc , the government's preferred candidate, and thus became the first
elected statesman in communist Yugoslavia. The other Yugoslav republics' governments, refusing any democratic changes, did not agree with this new way of selecting statesmen so the Slovenian republic parliament had to confirm the people's will. He served as chairman of the collective presidency from 1989 until 1990. While he was chairman of the presidency, he was also chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement and the commander of the Yugoslav People's Army. Until the collapse of communist regime he was an active member of the Communist Party. Soon after the democratisation, Slovenia seceded from Yugoslavia, but Drnovšek continued to be successful in politics. He was the former second prime minister of independent Slovenia from 1992 to 2002 (with a brief interruption for a few months in 2000) after Lojze Peterle, the first Prime Minister. He was elected to be the second president of Slovenia for a mandate 2003 - 2008.
From 1992 to 2002 he was a president of Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (Liberalna Demokracija Slovenije - LDS), a legal successor of Slovenian Association of Socialist Youth.