Civil society organisations come up with pre-election demands

Ljubljana – A network of civil society and non-governmental organisations that is forming the Voice of the People initiative ahead of the general election has addressed a number of requests related to the rule of law, climate change, housing policy, the elderly, and welfare state, calling on political parties to take their position.

As its representatives told the press in Ljubljana on Monday, the initiative associates 57 NGOs that have come together to address parties ahead of the election with concrete requests for improvement of several fields of life.

Ten sample requests have already been prepared and a total of 100 requests are expected to be made and presented to the parties, which will be called to take their positions on the requests.

Some of the requests were presented today, with the Legal Centre for the Protection of Human rights and Environment (PIC) pointing to the topics related to the rule of law, human rights and democracy.

Katarina Bervar Sternad of PIC said that Slovenia needed politically and financially independent institutions that would be able to effectively protect the interests of society and rights of individuals.

“We need political leadership that understands the principle of separation of powers, transparency and inclusive processes, respects the decisions of the highest courts”, and is trusted when it comes to opposing crime and corruption, she added.

Gaja Brecelj of the environmental NGO Umanotera said that Slovenia was warming up twice as fast as the global average and was thus vulnerable to climate change above the average. She called on political parties to listen to scientists and experts.

“They need to understand that living … with heat waves, droughts and floods is a serious threat to our lives and that people need trust when fighting climate crisis. It’s time for a policy that will meet these expectations,” she said.

The conference also noted the burning issue of housing, with sociologist Klemen Ploštajner pointing out that Slovenia neither had a systematic housing policy nor stable systemic and sustainable resources for long-term housing construction.

He said that every party and the future government must prepare a plan for how to provide stable long-term financing and construction of public rental apartments.

The initiative includes Srebrna Nit, an association campaigning for dignified old age, whose president Biserka Marolt Meden said that the Covid-19 had pinpointed all weaknesses in the system of elderly care in the past two years.

“More than 2,100 residents died in care homes in this period alone,” she said, adding that “we have had in the last year public debates that do not take into account the opinion of experts and civil society”.

The association requests immediate systemic measures for care homes and better accessibility of general practitioners, with Marolt Meden noting that more than 100,000 residents in Slovenia did not have an assigned general practitioner.