Slovenian left party Levica protests government’s refusal to hold referendum on military purchases

The Slovenian government refused a demand by Levica to hold a referendum on a proposal to procure weapons worth USD 925.28 million. Levica plans to challenge the decision in the constitutional court

October 26, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Levica has decided to challenge the government's ban on referendum in the country's constitutional court

On Friday, October 23, the Slovenian left-wing party Levica registered a strong protest against the government’s refusal to conduct a referendum on the decision to procure 780 million Euros (USD 925.28 million) worth of weapons. The government, a day before, had clearly ruled out such a process which had been proposed by Levica, drawing criticism from the progressive sections in the country. Levica has stated that it will challenge the government’s refusal in the country’s constitutional court.

According to reports, the government earlier proposed a bill in the National Assembly to earmark 780 million Euros (USD 925.28 million) for the Slovenian Armed Forces. This amount would be used from 2021 to 2026 to procure equipment and arms for two medium-sized battalions that would serve the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In August, Levica slammed this proposal as unwanted and called for a consultative referendum on the arms purchase. Several opinion polls have indicated that most of the people in the country are against the government’s plan.

Levica has stated that “after two months of burning discussions on 780 million worth of purchases of unnecessary weapons, the government suggested that the National Assembly ban a legislative referendum against this law. The reasons for this are very clear: people refuse the biggest purchase for war in the history of independent Slovenia in the time of a health, social and economic crisis”.

“But now it’s not just a matter of wrong priorities anymore. Now it’s the question, does Slovenia have a people? Or, on the contrary, a political caste, which is ready to sell the country to foreign centers of power and military-industrial complexes for its selfish interests and some change in the form of commissions. And towards this, people.. [are being] taken away from the most basic mechanism of democratic decision-making: a referendum,” the party added.

Levica also announced that it has been holding discussions with three opposition parties with the objective of ousting the government. Slovenia currently has a minority government led by Janez Janša of the right-wing Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS).