On September 29th, 2018, Marjan Podobnik was elected President of the Slovenian People’s Party during the electoral Congress of the Slovenian People’s Party (SLS) in Novo Mesto.
He was born on December 24th, 1960 in Cerkno. He graduated from high school at Jurij Vega Grammar School Idrija and graduated from the Biotechnical Faculty in Ljubljana in 1986. He started out working as an agricultural consultant and director for the Agricultural Cooperative in Idrija. In 1988, he was a member of the initiative committee of the Slovenian Farmers’ Youth Association (ZSKM) and co-founder of the first democratic political party in Slovenia after the Second World War – the Slovenian Farmers’ Association (SKZ). During the Republic of Slovenia’s first democratic elections, he ran on the SKZ list, which became the most numerous parliamentary group of the DEMOS coalition, and was elected to the Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia where he became the head of the SKZ parliamentary group.
In 1992, he was elected for the first time as president of the SLS party, which expanded their platform and were renamed from the Slovenian Farmers’ Association (SKZ) into the Slovenian People’s Party (SLS). Under his leadership, SLS won 19.38% of the votes in 1996. After unsuccessful attempts to create a platform-related coalition, SLS then entered into a government coalition with the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS) lead by Dr. Janez Drnovšek. Together with Cabinet advisors he endeavoured to prevent the obsolescence of victimization and state property and co-ordinated the preparation of protective legislation before Slovenia joined the EU. As Vice President of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, he cosponsored the first historical anthology of the Slovenian-Croatian border in Istria in 1998, whose aim it was to lay the foundations for future efforts to establish a definitive fair border between Slovenia and Croatia. In 1999, he led the National Committee for organizing the visit of Pope John Paul II, which was attended by nearly 200,000 people in Maribor when Anton Martin Slomšek was proclaimed venerable. In 2000, after a merger with the Slovene Christian Democrats (SKD), he withdrew from professional politics and remained active in the Slovene National Association of the SLS.
After a year of running Telekom Slovenia plc, where, together with his colleagues, he laid the foundations for a system that prevented illegal wiretaps and prevented damage to the company when purchasing equipment and repro materials, which was why he was forced to step down as director, he opted for an independent entrepreneurial path. By 2015, he was most active in the Serbian real estate market as well as in some other SE European markets.
In 2007, together with supporters, he founded the June 25th, Institute for the Protection of National Heritage. Since 2015, he has been actively cooperating with the GRM NOVO MESTO Centre of biotechnology and tourism and the Landscape Governance College GRM, especially in setting the basics for cluster economic development in rural areas based on “Trustworthy” philosophy (Gospodarski grozd za podeželje Zaupanja vreden) and in other projects whose primary goal is to build short food supply chains between consumers and producers.