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03.05.2010 21:10
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Parliament Confirms 6 June Referendum on Border Agreement

Foto Foto servis

An emergency session of the National Assembly discussing a legislative referendum on the ratification of the border arbitration treaty with Croatia.
Pictured: Prime Minister Borut Pahor (left) and opposition leader Janez Jansa (right).
File photo.

Ljubljana, 3 May (STA) - The National Assembly formally called a legislative referendum on the border arbitration agreement with Croatia for 6 June on Monday. Bipartisan support for the referendum, although for opposing reasons, was confirmed in a unanimous 78-0 vote.

Today's session brought a repetition of arguments on both sides, with the opposition claiming the agreement is bad, putting in peril Slovenia's contact with the high seas, and the coalition insisting that Slovenia is looking at a good deal that will resolve an almost two-decades-long dispute.

While opposition leader Janez Jansa remembered a 1920 referendum that saw many Carinthian Slovenians voting for Carinthia to join Austria rather than the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, PM Borut Pahor said rejecting the accord would be a catastrophic mistake that could rekindle political animosity and tarnish Slovenia's reputation.

The proposal for a referendum had been put forward to parliament by 86 of a total of 90 MPs after the treaty was ratified in the National Assembly on 19 April. All the ratification votes were provided by the coalition, as the opposition staged a walkout, arguing too little time had been awarded for debate.

The outcome of the referendum, the campaigning for which will officially start on Wednesday, will be binding; if the majority say yes, the ratification bill on the border arbitration agreement will take effect and preparations for international arbitration could get under way.

Croatia ratified the treaty in November 2009, just over a fortnight after it was signed by the prime ministers, Pahor and Jadranka Kosor, on 4 November in Stockholm.

03.05.2010 21:10

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