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Monday, June 24, 2024

Vote four times against the referendum fraud in protest

By: Peter Jančič

In two weeks, we will vote in non-binding referendums on whether the government should legalise state assistance in the euthanasia of the terminally ill, allow the cultivation and use of marijuana for medical purposes and personal use, and whether to include preferential voting in parliamentary elections. However, none of these dilemmas will be decided by you.

This year, the parliament rejected state assistance in euthanising the terminally ill, and immediately after the rejection, a referendum was called for people to decide whether the ruling MPs should try again. The processing of marijuana for medical purposes is already allowed and used for medical reasons. However, growing marijuana for recreational use is not permitted due to health and other risks. Citizens will advise the ruling parties on whether to turn a blind eye to this. A similar picture is shown by the referendum on preferential voting. The ruling parties have been negotiating with NSi for two years to include preferential voting in the parliamentary election system. The issue is not whether the people agree. Since this is a fundamental political arrangement, a two-thirds majority of MPs is required for the change. The current electoral system cannot accommodate preferential voting. To implement it, the entire system, which currently divides elections into 88 districts, must be changed. This can be done in numerous ways. But the government is not asking voters how to divide the country into units to introduce preferential voting after abolishing the districts. Opinions could vary here, and such a question could bring the wrong voters to the polls – for example, those opposed to the centralisation of the state, where MPs would end up mostly from Ljubljana and its surroundings.

All four referendums are a bluff aimed at bringing additional voters for Svoboda and Levica parties in the European elections. We will non-bindingly vote on whether MPs should decide when they can already do so. And they could do it without any referendum. In all cases, however, a proper binding referendum could still happen.

The fact that this is a deception of voters was pointed out this week in separate opinions by the legislative legal service of the National Assembly by constitutional judges, who did not suspend the implementation of the non-binding referendum on the unclearly defined assistance in the euthanasia of sick people. However, the decision was tight, with a vote of five to four.

The situation was less close regarding marijuana, where the majority of judges avoided judging whether the referendum was called in violation of the rules. They decided that they were not competent to judge procedural cheating. The referendum was called in a manner as if the MPs were already under the influence of marijuana. Or even stronger drugs. They introduced a new practice that allows amending the referendum question depending on whether it benefits the government side. When the opposition proposed an amendment for euthanasia, it was rejected, claiming that amendments were not allowed to be offered. However, in the case of marijuana, in the same committee and at the same stage, the ruling party itself proposed a change to the referendum question, not only suggesting one but even determining two questions. One with an entirely new content. Whether we will be allowed to get high.

Procedural drugging.

The intention is simply for Svoboda and Levica to bring a few more of their voters to the polls, and for this purpose, even very unusual means have been allowed to be used. Somewhat shameful, too.

Later, somehow, it will be managed.

Just as they do with judges’ salaries, which, after a year and a half from the prime minister’s promise of an immediate increase, even with retroactive effect, and far beyond the deadlines set by the Constitutional Court later to fulfil the promise, still have not been adjusted. Or as they do at the Medical Faculty in Primorska, where we learned that in three years, they will already be producing masses of new doctors in the new building because the current doctors are causing headaches for the government, demanding higher salaries like judges.

If there are more of them, one could say the bargaining power in the market will be better. This model has already been tried with judges, where we are at the top of Europe in terms of the number per million inhabitants. But it does not work. They still demand higher salaries.

However, doctors, who are in short supply, will be able to earn more if, alongside their work in three years, they also teach at Robert Golob University. If you believe it will actually be operational by then.

Above all, if the faculty does come into existence, we will educate even more of them to move to other countries where they are better paid and taken care of.

As for the referendums, I will vote differently than the majority of voters according to public opinion polls. On all four questions, I will be against, because it is a deception for the naïve. We elected MPs to decide on real dilemmas, which were not included in the referendum questions, and now they are trying to shift responsibility onto the voters because they are not doing their job. Consultative. However, voters cannot perform the duties of MPs by deciding on vague ideas placed before them only so that the ruling party can increase its chances of “victory” in the European elections.

If those in power are unable to do their job, they should resign and enable preliminary elections to the National Assembly so that we can elect more capable representatives. With the referendums they proposed, they disgrace the people’s right to referendum, which is the foundation of the state. And this is true even if they obtain a plebiscitary majority.

This state was born through a plebiscite. But at that time, it was a referendum on a serious and important dilemma, and the decision was binding and had consequences.

If the Demos coalition had asked the people in the plebiscite whether they were for a different arrangement of relations in socialist Yugoslavia and not for the establishment of their own state because they wanted to increase their chances of success with a vague question, the independence process would have ended in failure.

As will this referendum decision-making process. But the consequences, as with judges and the medical faculty, will only come later, when, in pursuit of a few extra votes in the European elections (which the ruling party will very likely lose anyway), they will have already squandered millions of euros.

In reality, however, much more will be lost with the devaluation of the institution of referendum and the time and intelligence of the people.

That is why I will vote against all four referendums. As a protest.

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