ZAGREB, September 16, 2019 – Leaders of three union federations asked parliament on Monday to call a referendum against the pension reform, otherwise they would call on citizens to take to the streets to ensure that the will of the 750,000 referendum petition signatories is honoured.
SSSH leader Mladen Novosel told reporters outside parliament that they submitted the signatures more than three months ago and that, aside from the Public Administration Ministry’s confirmation that enough signatures had been collected, there had been no word from the government or parliament about the next steps.
The unions expect parliament to set the referendum date by the end of this month, he said. If the referendum question is sent to the Constitutional Court for assessment, there is a 30-day deadline and possibly another 30 days for the Court to reply to parliament, Novosel said, adding that the unions would ask the Court to reply as soon as possible.
Novosel said there would be no more negotiations or agreements on the referendum, adding that the referendum must be held because the will of the people must be honoured.
NHS leader Krešimir Sever said the referendum must be called as soon as possible, telling those in power not to force the unions into political waters as they did not want to engage in politics.
He said those in power had pushed the unions into collecting signatures for the referendum during the European Parliament election campaign.
There is still enough time to call the referendum during October so that the presidential and parliamentary elections can be held in a relaxed manner, said Sever.
MHS leader Vilim Ribić reiterated that the unions would not meet with Labour and Pension System Minister Josip Aladrović until the referendum was called.
The 750,000 signatures collected is equal to the number of votes thanks to which the HDZ is the ruling party, so I don’t think someone can toy with that, he said.
He said it was important to hold the referendum as a sign of democratic culture, calling on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who he said decided whether parliament would send the referendum question to the Constitutional Court, to decide “in line with democratic, civilised and cultural standards” and call the referendum.
More news about referendums can be found in the Politics section.