Slovenian deputies push referendum process along

10:57, April 27, 2010      

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An overwhelming majority of deputies -- 86 out of 90 -- in the Slovenian National Assembly on Monday voted for legislation that will open the door to a referendum on what is perceived as a crucial question for this tiny Alpine state, reported the Slovenian news agency STA.

At the heart of the issue is whether this former Yugoslav republic tucked between Italy, Austria and Croatia should respect an arbitration decision which could seal the fate of its access to international waters.

This border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia had also previously put Croatia's European Union accession process on hold. The impasse was resolved when the respective prime ministers of the two countries, Borut Pahor of Slovenia and Jadranka Kosor of Croatia, agreed to international arbitration.

For Slovenia, because the stakes are high, Pahor decided a referendum was warranted. The proposed question to be put before the citizens of Slovenia, as early as on June 6, 2010, is as follows:

"Do you support the implementation of the Law on the Ratification of the Arbitration Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and the Government of the Republic of Croatia, which was accepted at the State Assembly Session of April 19, 2010?"

Only a slim majority of 48 Slovenian deputies ratified the agreement on April 19, while the remaining deputies boycotted the vote saying there had not been sufficient time for a discussion.

Source: Xinhua


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