Recognition of the State of Palestine: story of a “chaotic” process in Slovenia

“Slovenia recognizes Palestine after an indescribable chaotic session in Parliament”, daily headline Dnevnik to summarize the day of May 4. The day before, Ljubljana was on the verge of recognizing Palestine, but the former Prime Minister’s Slovenian Democratic Party Janez Jansaleader of the conservative opposition, had obstructed.

On May 3, Jansa tabled a motion calling for a consultative referendum on the recognition of Palestine, which would have delayed the vote in Parliament for thirty days. According to Jansa, “Recognition of Palestine amounts to support for terrorist Hamas and risks causing long-term damage to Slovenia,” remember Dnevnik. The Slovenian newspaper presents Jansa as having, in the past, been close to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Opposition boycott

Tuesday May 4, at the start of the extraordinary session of the Slovenian Parliament, the opposition first withdrew its request for a referendum “for technical reasons”, before putting it back on the agenda. The parliamentary session was interrupted several times.

After a consultation with the Foreign Policy Committee, the President of the National Assembly, Urska Klakocar Zupancic, decided to go through with force and reject the motion on the referendum, believing that “the opposition had abused the referendum mechanism, the thirty-day deadline only applying to draft laws and not to decrees,” specifies the daily Delo.

Called to vote late in the evening, the Slovenian Parliament finally approved the recognition of Palestine by 52 out of 90 votes of deputies, the opposition having boycotted the vote. Two weeks after Spain, Ireland and Norway, Slovenia became the 147e country that has recognized the State of Palestine. According to polls, this country of 2 million inhabitants was largely in favor.

Sparks within the coalition

“I hope that this recognition will give new impetus to peace negotiations in the Middle East by strengthening moderate forces on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides and encouraging reform of the Palestinian Authority,” declared the Slovenian Prime Minister, the liberal Robert Golob, Quoted by Mladina.

The recognition of Palestine caused sparks within the ruling coalition. Liberals from Prime Minister Golob’s Freedom Movement wanted to wait for other EU countries, notably France, to join this initiative. On the other hand, the social democrats and the left of Levica insisted that Slovenia recognize the State of Palestine in the wake of Spain, Ireland and Norway, reports the Croatian daily Vecernji List, from Zagreb.

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