Slovenians to hold sword of Damocles over mayors

Slovenian PM Miro Cerar backed the move, but the criteria for removing mayors still in office have already been criticised for being too complex. [EU2016 SK/ Flickr]

Slovenia is set to become one of the few countries in the European Union where people can sack their mayor before their term in office ends, albeit under strict conditions.

Signatures of 30% of a municipality’s voters, or 10% for larger towns, will be needed for a local referendum to be held, according to legislation approved yesterday (15 December).

Even if a majority then votes to oust the mayor, turnout has to reach at least 90% of those who had cast ballots when he or she was originally elected.

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In addition, the mayor cannot be booted out of office in this way during the first or the fourth year of their term, according to the amendment passed by lawmakers.

“Those who elected someone must have the right to dismiss them,” said Jani Moderndorfer, an MP from current Prime Minister Miro Cerar’s Modern Centre Party (SMC); Cerar backed the changes.

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However, Slovenian daily Delo was unimpressed, saying the procedure was overly complicated and that it expects the legislation to be challenged in the constitutional court.

At present the few places in the EU allowing mayors to be removed include several German states and Poland, where an effort to oust Warsaw’s mayor failed in 2013 due to low turnout in a referendum.

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