MPs decide stimulus package cannot be challenged in referendum

Ljubljana – The National Assembly decided in a 50:16 vote on Wednesday that the latest corona crisis stimulus package, passed late last night, cannot be put to a referendum. The decision means that the law was published in the Official Gazette Wednesday evening and will take effect on Thursday.

It comes after the upper chamber of parliament met earlier in the day deciding not to veto the bill in a 29:3 vote even if it had some second thoughts about it.

The decision against the referendum in the lower chamber was opposed by the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), the Left and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), which argued that some of the provisions introduced permanent measures which had nothing to do with the corona crisis.

“The government included in it dismissal of old workers without any regard to the trade unions’ position,” Primož Siter of the Left said.

The Social Democrats (SD) also expressed criticism, but their MP Mejra Hot said the party wanted the beneficial measures to take effect as soon as possible and would therefore vote in favour of preventing a referendum.

However, she also said that any content in the package that is not urgent and is not related to the epidemic raised the risk of today’s decision being challenged in Constitutional Court.

Defending the package, Robert Polnar of the Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS) said that “the measures are first and foremost intended for the socially weak”.

Coalition MPs pointed to beneficial provisions estimated to bring EUR 550 million in aid to business and people. “We want the aid to reach people and businesses as soon as possible,” Tadeja Šuštar of New Slovenia (NSi) said.