Slovenians will head to the polls for a referendum on 11 July – just before the start of peak tourist season – to vote on amendments to the Waters Act, the first referendum in the country in almost four years.
The push for the referendum has been organised by an alliance of green non-governmental organisations, which gathered the 40,000 certified voter signatures required for a popular vote over a series of provisions that they claim will loosen rules and allow construction of hotels and malls in coastal areas and on river and lake banks.
The environment ministry has rejected the claims as unfounded, arguing that the new rules in fact narrowed the scope for construction in sensitive coastal areas by allowing only the construction of public infrastructure such as recreational facilities and playgrounds in these sensitive areas. It said environmentalists were “misled”.
The new law will be rejected if a majority of those going to the polls vote against it, provided at least 20% of eligible voters take part. The last referendum in 2017, concerning a huge rail project, failed on both counts. (Sebastijan R. Maček | STA)