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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

In this way, Svoboda and Levica are saving face to avoid defeat in the European elections

By: Peter Jančič (Spletni časopis)

To lure additional voters to the polls and secure some extra votes for the Svoboda and Levica parties, which are faring poorly ahead of the European elections, members of these two parties are demanding an extraordinary session of parliament to hold three non-binding advisory referendums simultaneously with the European elections.

For Levica, there is currently no indication that they could enter the European Parliament; they also failed five years ago. And Svoboda trails far behind SDS and currently does not have a particularly convincing team. The demands for an extraordinary session, which was first signed by Borut Sajovic and submitted yesterday, intend to combine the advisory referendums with the European elections.

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In accordance with the above, the undersigned members of parliament believe that the request for an extraordinary session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia is justified. We demand that a decision on all the proposed initiatives be made at the earliest possible time at an extraordinary session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia. It is particularly important to note that with the expedited consideration of proposals for holding advisory referendums (EPA 1385-IX, EPA 1400-IX, EPA 1401-IX), if approved by the vote in the session of the National Assembly, their implementation could be possible on the same day as the scheduled elections for the European Parliament, namely June 9th, 2024. Otherwise, referendums would have to be held later, on a different day and separately from the European Parliament elections, which would also entail increased costs for their implementation.

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The content of the advisory referendums will be quite peculiar. The use of marijuana for medical purposes is something that the ruling authorities can legalise in five minutes if they wish; the same applies to assisted suicide, where the ruling authorities recently rejected the law and are now calling for a referendum, despite the legislative legal service warning that it will be unconstitutional and unfair because the proposed question is not clear and definite.

Even more peculiar will be the non-binding referendum on changing the electoral system, as a change to the electoral system requires a specifically qualified majority in parliament. We already had a referendum on the electoral system at the request of SDS, where the majority of voters supported a majoritarian system in which the winners would be elected from constituencies, not the losers. We currently have a system where losers are often elected to ensure proportional representation of parties, including those that were hardly voted for, such as Levica. The Constitutional Court ruled that parliament must also legislate the majoritarian system. However, parties from the left, with the help of the then united SLS, amended the constitution to continue electing parties. Due to the actions of SLS+SKD, which were seen as a betrayal of all agreements before, as the merger of parties became meaningless, Prime Minister Andrej Bajuk and Foreign Minister Lojze Peterle founded NSi at that time.

Now, in the referendum, voters would be offered a non-binding survey on whether to introduce preferential voting, which would influence who from the parties would be elected. However, the seats would still be allocated to parties, and losers of the elections would continue to be elected, as determined by the majority of parties through the constitutional amendment, rather than the winners as decided by the majority of people in the referendum in 1996.

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