Activist petitioning for referendum on govt restructuring bill

Ljubljana – Political activist Vili Kovačič has launched a petition for a referendum on a bill that would allow the prime minister to shape the cabinet as he sees fit. The changes, expanding the number of ministries by three, are a disgrace for democracy, he said on Friday, adding he would challenge all coalition-sponsored bills passed in parliament.

Kovačič said in a press release that he would call on Prime Minister Robert Golob in a letter to withdraw the changes from procedure. Kovačič believes the changes had been passed without any reasonable argument and has called on all political parties to join his effort.

This comes only three days after the National Assembly voted down an attempt by the opposition Democrats (SDS) to call a referendum on the same changes. The party argued that the government would become to big to be operational.

On Wednesday, the National Assembly passed the changes, giving Kovačič until 1 July to collect 2,500 signatures needed for the preliminary petition. He will then have to collect 40,000 signatures in 35 days for the referendum to be called.

After the vote on Wednesday, the SDS said it would consider whether to start collecting signatures for the referendum petition. SDS MP Žan Mahnič also said that seven days were more than enough for the party of its size to get the signatures it needed.

When asked whether Kovačič, who has fought for causes close to the SDS a number of times, would be the one collecting the signatures, Mahnič said that Kovačič was an independent person and that the SDS was an independent party.

Kovačič also said today that he would start petitioning for a referendum if the National Assembly passes the coalition-proposed changes to the act on the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija.

“And we will have to do the same with all of the other bills the Freedom Movement is offering on the way to free slavery.”