By: G. B.
At press conference, the vice-president of the Slovenian Democratic Youth, Nejc Brence, spoke about the SDM’s call to launch an investigation against the March 8th Institute.
As he explained, the Slovenian Democratic Youth (SDM) once again notes that the same rules do not apply to everyone in Slovenia. “Ultimately, we can see this even today, when some deals around the Prime Minister are not investigated, despite the fact that every week there is some new evidence that his deals in the Balkans were not the cleanest,” announced Nejc Brence.
Inequality before the law is also evident in the obvious abuses of electoral legislation by some non-governmental organisations. “We could see one of such abuses before last year’s parliamentary elections, when around 100 non-governmental organisations joined the Voice of the People initiative and carried out a negative campaign against the then government in favour of the current government coalition,” the SDM press release states.
This is important information for all Slovenian taxpayers, as 140 million euros of taxpayer funds have flowed into these organisations in recent years. That it was an open campaign against the government of Janez Janša was also confirmed by the prominent representative of the Voice of the People Tea Jarc with her last statements, when she said: “We encouraged people to defeat the previous government, not just once, not only in April 2022, but three times or whenever it is necessary.”
As we can see, the rewards are already coming for this powerful campaign, since they have already received more than 9 million additional euros since the current government took office, and the most prominent members are being given functions and jobs. And this today, when the government tells pensioners, young people, employees, and everyone else that there is no money to provide for their needs. This list: Voice of the People – Funds from the budget until 17.3.23 (ERAR) shows something completely different. Budget money obviously exists, but the government’s priorities are elsewhere.
According to the reliable figures from ERAR, the current government places privileged non-governmental organisations within the Voice of the People before firefighters, before nurses, before pupils and students, before pensioners, practically before everyone who actually fills the taxpayer’s coffers with taxes. According to the Slovenian Democratic Youth, this is a deliberate misuse of taxpayer funds for the indirect financing of the political campaign of left-wing parties through certain non-governmental organisations, which in fact are not NGOs.
“However, similar, and specific abuses of the electoral legislation took place even before the last parliamentary elections, when it was perhaps the most noticeable. A clear example of the misuse of electoral legislation is the financing of the March 8th Institute campaign against the implementation of the amendment to the Water Act. Today, we reported this suspected violation of the Election and Referendum Campaign Act to the Audit Court and the police, as we believe that the campaign was illegally financed from abroad. In the letter, we called on the competent authorities to, in accordance with their powers, immediately launch an investigation against the March 8th Research Institute,” the SDM also announced.
“In the letter to the Audit Court Notification of suspected commission of a misdemeanour financing of a referendum campaign from abroad_Account Court and to the police Notification of a suspicion of commission of a misdemeanour financing of a referendum campaign from abroad_Police, we stated the following facts:
- That the March 8th Institute received €30,000 from the foreign organisation Guerrilla Foundation in 2021. It is a foreign foundation that finances radical ideas for changes in society and radical left activists. The foundation is based in Germany and, among other things, financed protests in many European countries, where paid activists sprayed paint on institutions and monuments and caused millions of dollars worth of damage.
- That the March 8th Institute applied for the tender with the aim of carrying out campaigns, which is clearly visible on the website of the German foundation. In the report, published on the website of the Guerrilla Foundation, among the completed projects it is written, in translation: “From March to July 2021, they coordinated the national referendum on changes to the water law, which threatened drinking water. First, they collected 40,000 signatures to call for a referendum, and then they ran a campaign that ultimately brought a historic victory and a significantly greater mobilisation of young people, even if the referendum was held in the summer.” The report therefore clearly states that the money was earmarked for the conduct of the referendum campaign.
- This is where we come to the legality of such financing: The March 8th Institute, unlike the parliamentary elections, registered as an official organiser of the election campaign. The Act on Election and Referendum Campaigns applies to the official campaign organisers, as well as to the others, but those who usually avoid responsibility and legal entities. The Act clearly states in paragraph 6 of Article 14: “The organiser of the election campaign may not obtain funds for the election campaign from foreign natural and legal persons.” In our opinion, this is therefore a violation of the Act on Election and Referendum Campaigns, for which a fine of 6,000 to 20,000 euros is foreseen.
As they summarise, 30,000 euros went from the German Guerrilla Foundation to the bank account of the March 8th Institute, and from there to the election bank account, from which the Institute financed its referendum campaign. “In our opinion, this is a violation of Paragraph 6 of Article 14 of the Act on Election and Referendum Campaigns, which is why we have filed a report with the competent institutions,” they announced. Therefore, the SDM expects that the case will be investigated according to the foreseen procedures and in the same way as if they were investigating the Slovenian Democratic Party. “In addition to the suspicion report, we also attached the annexes, which we quote in the report, so that we made the work of the law enforcement authorities easier, and we believe that in the case of an unimpeded procedure, they will be able to quickly reach concrete conclusions. Article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia speaks of equality before the law, and it would be time to start respecting the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia,” Nejc Brence announced on behalf of the SDM.