The Slovenia Times

Constitutional Change on Track



Only unaffiliated MP Ivan Vogrin voted against the constitutional change at this stage, while 87 deputies voted in favour although the preceding debate indicated more difficulties in later stages of procedure.

The senior coalition Democratic Party (SDS) is reserved about introducing a double threshold for the success of the referendum and wants a separate vote on that proposal at later stages, while misgivings were also expressed by the Positive Slovenia (PS), People's Party (SLS) and New Slovenia (NSi).

Under the proposal known as "rejective referendum", the law would be defeated if the majority of the valid ballots were against but only under the condition that at least a quarter of all eligible voters voted no. A simple majority is required at the moment.

Meanwhile, all parties seem to be firmly behind the idea to limit the right to demand a referendum to 40,000 voters, which means both chambers of parliament would be stripped of this right.

A popular vote would be banned on laws dealing with taxes, customs duties and other levies; laws containing urgent measures in defence of the country, security or in response to natural disasters; laws ratifying international treaties and laws designed to tackle established unconstitutionality.

The changes drawn up by the parliamentary Constitution Commission in cooperation with a group of constitutional law experts would also mean that parliament would no longer be tied to the outcome of the referendum for a year and could put forward a better law right after the referendum rejection.

The Constitution Commission now needs to draw up the proposal of a constitutional law for the second phase of procedure. In the end the law needs the support of a two-thirds of all MPs to get passed.

MPs meanwhile defeated the coalition-sponsored changes to the referendum act, which would raise the number of signatures needed for a referendum initiative to 5,000 verified signatures instead of 2,500 signatures collected on the street.

Two-thirds of the MPs present should have voted for the motion to pass first reading, but of the 89 MPs registered for the vote, 51 voted in favour and 37 against.


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