The Slovenia Times

Constitutional Changes on Fiscal Rule and Referendum Take Effect


Deputies underlined that Slovenia was fulfilling its promise to the EU with the move, thereby shoring up its credibility and sending a positive signal to markets.

Marko Pogačnik of the opposition Democrats (SDS) regretted that it took Slovenia a year to take these steps, while Mihael Prevc of the opposition People's Party (SLS) said the process was not complete yet, as Slovenia still needed to adopt an implementation act for the fiscal rule.

The golden fiscal rule will have to be observed for the first time in Slovenia's 2015 budget. After that, the country's budgets will have to be balanced without borrowing.

Maša Kociper of the ruling Positive Slovenia (PS) said people must be reassured that they have noting to fear from the changes. "This will not lead to lower salaries, pensions and social transfers," she said.

Marjana Kotnik Poropat of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) meanwhile said that her party would strongly object to a potential "destruction of the welfare state".

The overhauled Article 148 of the Constitution allows exceptions from the rule in case of extraordinary circumstances, which will be defined in the implementation law.

The implementation law will be passed by the National Assembly within a year with a two-thirds majority, according to the amended Article 148.

Under the changes on referendum legislation, deputies and national councillors will no longer be able to request a referendum, meaning that a referendum could only be initiated with 40,000 voter signatures.

Deputies underlined today that the changes were not cutting into rights of the people and that they limit the possibility of abuse, as referenda have often been used as a political tool in the past.

The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) head Ljudmila Novak said her party would continue to fight for changes that will allow less than 40,000 people to request a referendum.

The constitutional changes on referendum legislation amend articles 90, 97 and 99. Under the changes, the National Assembly will no longer have to wait a year before discussing a bill similar to a document rejected in a referendum.

The changes also ban referenda on laws dealing with taxes, budget implementation, emergency relief, defence and safety measures, ratification of international treaties, and laws correcting existing unconstitutional provisions.

The changes moreover introduce the "rejective referendum" model, under which a law will be defeated if the majority of the valid ballots are against but only under the condition that at least a fifth of all eligible voters vote no. A simple majority was required so far.


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