Golden Fiscal Rule Put on Hold
Government plans to amend the Constitution with a fiscal rule requiring that the budget be balanced or in surplus, will be put on hold after the meeting of party leaders in late May failed to bring the opposition on board, leaving the government short of the two-thirds majority.
“We don’t have the majority necessary to enter the fiscal rule in the Constitution,” Prime Minister, Janez Janša, said after the meeting.
Janša downplayed the situation, noting that “positions on the [EU] fiscal compact”, which forms the basis for the fiscal rule, have been “changing elsewhere in Europe as well”. The opposition, Positive Slovenia (PS), has been opposed to the golden rule from the start. Janša had been counting on the Social Democrats (SD), whose president, Borut Pahor supports the golden rule, but the party is split on the issue. The constitutional amendment implementing the golden rule was recently confirmed by the parliamentary Constitutional Commission, but Speaker Gregor Virant said it would now be put on hold. If the amendment was rejected, it would be off the table for the rest of the current session, according to Virant.
The party leaders did reach a “high level of agreement”, however, to proceed with changes to the constitution that would curb referendums. All parties agreed that laws relating to the implementation of the budget should be off limits to referendums, according to Janša. They also share the view that the National Assembly and the upper-chamber National Council should be stripped of their right to call referendums, leaving only citizen initiatives. However, opinions are still divided on whether there should be a quorum, which the opposition Positive Slovenia (PS) has been advocating. According to Janša, the highest quorum proposed at the meeting was 40%.
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