Slovenia ruling coalition defeats right-wing in referendum pollReading Time: 2 minutes
Slovenia’s government saw off a major opposition challenge on Sunday, 27 November, as voters approved three laws in a referendum vote widely seen as a vote of confidence in the left-liberal ruling coalition.
The right-wing Democrats Party (SDS) had called referendum attempting to repeal three so-called “damaging” laws, including one to remove political interference at the state broadcaster RTV Slovenija by putting civil society institutions in charge of its supervision. However, 62.45% of the voters voted in favour of the ruling party’s legislation, with 93% of the votes counted.
The journalists’ trade unions at RTV Slovenija proclaimed the result as confirmation that the public wants a professional, autonomous, and quality media outlet without political diktats regarding content.
Another law included in the referendum that would allow the creation of more ministries was backed by 56.3% of voters. The third piece of legislation on the slip, which postpones the implementation of a care system for pensioners law, which was passed under the previous, SDS-led government, garnered 61.9% support. Turnout was just over 40%, double the percentage required for legal validity.
The vote is the third major setback for the previously dominant SDS this year, after its leader Janez Jansa lost the general election to Prime Minister Robert Golob in April, and liberal lawyer Natasa Pirc Musar defeated former SDS foreign minister Anze Logar in the presidential election two weeks ago.
The Slovenia Times reported National Assembly President Urska Klakocar Zupancic as saying “the people have voted for a free and healthy Slovenia”, and had re-affirmed the results of the April general election. “It is time the opposition accepts what people are saying,” Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said.
Jansa, who was widely accused of placing party loyalists in key media posts during his third tenure as premier in 2020-22, blamed the Slovenian media for the result in a tweet that read “with a 99% media monopoly, what can (the ruling coalition) mislead them with next time.”
SDS MP Branko Grims upped the ante, saying “it is no wonder that the situation in Slovenia is getting increasingly similar to that in Germany in 1933”.