The Slovenia Times

Controversial referendums allowed to go ahead

One of the referendums will ask voters about cannabis. Photo: Katja Kodba/STA

The Constitutional Court has rejected the opposition's request to stay referendums on assisted dying and cannabis use, which are due to be held alongside another referendum and the EU election in Slovenia on 9 June.

The court announced its decision not to stay the consultative referendum on assisted dying on 21 May after deciding the same in the case of the cannabis referendum on 9 May.

The court later also cleared the two referendums content-wise.

The Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) asked the court to stay both referendums pending its final decision on the matter as they requested a constitutional review of the two popular votes.

They argue that the referendum asking people whether they would want a law to introduce the right to assistance in the voluntary ending of life runs contrary to the constitutional provisions on the sanctity of life.

They challenged the cannabis referendum on procedural grounds, because the referendum question was changed considerably during the parliamentary process.

The initial proposal was to inquire about support for the cultivation, processing, sale and use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, but two separate questions ended up in the final version asking voters about their support for the cultivation and processing of cannabis for medical purposes, and "cultivation and possession of cannabis for limited personal use".

In a third referendum voters will be asked whether they want the option of a preferential vote in general elections.

The National Assembly decided on 25 April that three consultative referendums will be held on 9 June, when Slovenians go to the polls to elect their members to the European Parliament.

The two opposition parties have been against holding the referendums with the EU election, while the largest ruling coalition party in particular wanted the votes held on the same day to boost turnout in the EU election, which is as a rule low in Slovenia.

A poll released by the newspaper Dnevnik on 18 May suggests that all three referendums are likely to end with endorsements, extrapolated from respondents who are likely to head to the polls.

Slightly more than 58% support the right to assisted dying and just over 72% are in favour of preferential voting in general elections.

The voters appear to be more split on cannabis. While over 82% support its production for medicinal purposes, only a slim majority, 52.4% are in favour of legalising growing for recreational purposes.


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