- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2006

BERLIN — The president of Slovenia has given up his palace for a mountain hut and habitually decks himself in leaves to celebrate nature.

Adopting a New Age existence after being diagnosed with cancer, Janez Drnovsek, 56, has moved from the presidential palace in the capital, Ljubljana, to the village of Zaplana, where he lives alone with his dog on a vegan diet of organic fruit and vegetables, while he bakes his own bread.

He even has been known to “greet the trees” by dressing up in cloaks of leaves.

Mr. Drnovsek appealed this week to his fellow countrymen to join him in embracing the simple life in the hope of averting a world catastrophe.

In a new self-help guide, “The Essence of the World,” a follow-up to his best-selling “The Thoughts on Life and Awareness,” the politician describes the spiritual transformation he has undergone since renouncing the trappings of presidential life.

“Unfortunately, we have many people nowadays who are without internal harmony, yet who want to change the world,” Mr. Drnovsek said at the book’s release this week at the Vienna book fair in Austria.

“But, the fact is, the world is heading towards a catastrophe and self-destruction.”

Slovenians say the once-boring divorced banker has changed beyond recognition. A former prime minister, he took Slovenia into the European Union but now complains that the bloc spends more on cows “than half the population of the world gets.”

Although Mr. Drnovsek is the head of state in Slovenia, which gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Prime Minister Janez Jansa is in charge of day-to-day executive decision-making.

Mr. Drnovsek’s party, Movement for Justice and Prosperity, promotes healthy living for both children and animals. But for some he is a bit too esoteric and liberal.

Last year, he discovered a daughter he had unknowingly fathered and proudly presented her in public. In his new book, he says the world could end within 20 years.

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