Janez Drnovšek (pronounced , (May 17, 1950 – February 23, 2008) was a Slovenian liberal politician, President of Yugoslavia (1989-1990), Prime Minister of Slovenia (1992-2002) and President of Slovenia (2002-2007). He was born in Celje, then part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, today in Slovenia. He died on February 23, 2008 in Zaplana.
Young Janez was raised in the small town of Kisovec in the municipality of Zagorje ob Savi, where his father Viktor was the local mine chief and his mother Silva was a homemaker. Drnovšek graduated at the University of Ljubljana with a degree in economics in 1973. Meanwhile, he worked as an intern at a Le Havre bank. In 1975, at the age of 25, he became chief financial officer at SGP Beton Zagorje, a construction company. Two years later he became, for one year, an economic adviser at the Yugoslav embassy in Cairo, Egypt. He defended his master's thesis in 1981, and in 1986, he defended his Ph.D. dissertation in 1986 at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Maribor. In 1982, he became head of the local branch of Ljubljana Bank in his home region Zasavje (in central Slovenia). In 1986 he was chosen to be a delegate at the Slovenian Republic Assembly (parliament) and also the Chamber of Republics and Provinces of the Yugoslav parliament.
In 1989 Stane Dolanc, the Slovenian representative to the collective presidency of Yugoslavia, retired. The Slovenian Communist Party, aware of upcoming democratisation, decided to organize elections between two candidates for the position. Drnovšek, until then rather unknown to the public, defeated Marko Bulc, the Party's preferred candidate. The Communist leaderships of other Yugoslav republics did not agree with this new way of selecting the representative to the Collective Presidency, so the Slovenian Republic Parliament had to confirm the result of the elections. Drnovšek 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 the Communist regime he was an active member of the Communist Party. After the democratic changes in Slovenia, the country seceded from Yugoslavia. Following the Ten Day War, Drnovšek used his position in the Collective Presidency to help mediate the Brioni Agreement and to negotiate a peaceful withdrawal of Yugoslav army from Slovenia.