The Slovenia Times

Archives Referendum Confirmed for 4 May



The coalition argued the referendum would overshadow European topics on 25 May, while pundits have suggested it would serve to boost the turnout of voters who tend to back centre-right parties.

As Culture Minister Uroš Grilc put it, the referendum would have been "a subtitle of election slogans, just in case people are sick of political promises".

Jožef Kavtičnik, MP for the ruling Positive Slovenia (PS), said the referendum would have been "abused as a topic of EU elections".

The opposition has claimed holding both ballots on the same day would reduce costs and improve turnout.

Eva Irgl, MP for the opposition Democrats (SDS) and the first signatory on the referendum petition, suggested that holding the two votes on dates was "uneconomical".

The National Electoral Commission has said an independent referendum would cost around EUR 3.5m, while holding it on 25 May would cost only EUR 1.3m on top of the cost of the election.

After the coalition rejected the 25 May proposal today, the SDS decided to boycott the vote which confirmed 4 May as the date of the referendum.

The party moreover announced a constitutional challenge of the decision, arguing that setting "an impossible date" means undermining people's right to vote.

One reason the SDS has been pushing to hold the referendum on EU election day is that new referendum rules, enacted through constitutional changes last year, are stricter.

Under the new rules, a law is 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.

On 4 May voters will be asked whether they support amendments to the archives law that parliament adopted in January.

The opposition claims the amendments restrict access to Yugoslav-era archives, including those of the infamous UDBA secret police, by making the process of obtaining documents more onerous and requiring that all sensitive data be blacked out.

The coalition, on the other hand, says the archives will henceforth be more open, though sensitive data such as sexual orientation and religious affiliation, will be better protected.


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