Večer: Referendum strong rebuke of govt, reawakening of political power

Maribor – Večer welcomes the activation of voters as it comments on the referendum on the new waters act on Monday, adding that the turnout bodes well for the future of democracy and is vote of no confidence in the government.

One important message of this referendum is that younger generations can be activated for politics with the right issues, which is an important sign for the future of Slovenian democracy and a signal that people are willing to resist political arrogance and protect public interest.

The second message was aimed at the government, with the referendum merely confirming what the polls show. “Since about last August Janša’s third government has witnessed a strong erosion of trust and public legitimacy,” the paper says in Law Flushed Away, Strong Slap for the Government and Reanimation of Political Conscience.

Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak deflected the question of whether he will now resign, “but after such a slap in the face, Vizjak’s immediate resignation would be an appropriate act that would partially contain the broader fallout for the entire government.”

Instead, the minister said those who voted against had been manipulated. “A shame, minister. If the people did or were to vote primarily about the government and the coalition, which Vizjak was aiming at, the news for those in power is even more disastrous.”

“In his first response Janša already said that left governments had not resigned either after referendum defeats, but let’s remember that the triple referendum defeat in the summer of 2011 marked the final and irrevocable decline of Pahor’s government.”

Turning to the high turnout, Večer says that it comes at a time when society should be able to conduct an inclusive debate about the post-pandemic era. “In an era of tectonic social shifts, it is all the more urgent to remain alert, to react to political damage. The referendum has reawakened this ability.”