The Slovenia Times

National Assembly bans referendum on Covid relief bill


Ljubljana - The lower chamber of parliament decided in a 46:19 vote on Wednesday it is not admissible to call a referendum on the tenth Covid relief legislative package, which was passed on Monday. Earlier in the day, the upper chamber decided against vetoing it. Both decisions are meant to speed up the implementation of the EUR 280 million bill.

Centre-left opposition MPs opposed the anti-referendum decision arguing it amounted to abuse of the institute of referendum while accusing the ruling coalition of using the bill to buy votes before next year's general election.

"The government coalition is yet again denying citizens the right to referendum," said Boštjan Koražija from the Left, with Lidija Divjak Mirnik (LMŠ) wondering, "Whom are you afraid of?"

Vojko Starović of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) welcomed some measures, such as solidarity bonuses for various vulnerable groups and the extension of tourism vouchers, while he criticized some others, including the higher pay for doctors as being neither urgent nor necessary to address the epidemic.

Coalition MPs, on the other hand, argued the bill should be implemented as soon as possible for people to benefit from it. "Every day of delay would be too much," said Tadeja Šuštar Zalar from the NSi. Similarly, Robert Polnar from the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) said it brings over 40 measures, including EUR 80 million in solidarity bonuses for pensioners.

The bill brings a range of measures such as one-off solidarity bonuses, extension of certain measures in healthcare, compensation for severe side effects of Covid vaccination or drugs, liquidity loans, and also a higher top pay bracket for doctors until the end of 2022. It was adopted in a 46:42 vote amidst warnings that some provisions had no place in what is supposed to be a stimulus law.


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