Slovenians in Italy: Without guaranteeing Slovenian representation, reducing the number of seats in the Italian parliament is not acceptable18.09.2020
"The umbrella organisations of Slovenians in Italy, namely SKGZ and SSO Council of Slovenian Organisations, are very concerned about the constitutional amendment to reduce the number of parliamentarians, on which a referendum was called on 20 and 21 September. By amending Articles 56, 57 and 59 of the Italian Constitution, it is intended to reduce the cost of politics, which is unacceptable at a time when such a change affects representation in parliament, which is a very sensitive issue.
The umbrella organisations SKGZ and SSO stand by the principle that parliamentary representation in democratically governed countries must be organised in such a way as to maximise social and territorial representation. The representation of the Slovenian national community should also be regulated in this sense, as the Protection Act 38/2001 already contains a provision on this subject, that has yet to be implemented in practice.
Even before the post-war period, Slovenes in Italy always had their representative in the Italian Parliament. In the years after the First World War, Slovenian representation was provided by a joint minority list of Slovenians and Germans, and after the Second World War the Slovenian parliamentarian was always elected to the list of left or centre-left parties.
The reduction in the number of parliamentarians will halve the number of deputies and senators normally elected in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. This will affect both the provincial territory and the Slovenes, as the electoral conditions will be much more difficult than at present. In this sense, the results of the last two elections in 2018 and 2013 were already alarming.
The umbrella organisations SKGZ and SSO are also disappointed that the draft of the new electoral law completely overlooks the issue of the Slovenian representative as provided for in Article 26 of the Protection Act. Given its long-term presence in Parliament and its good relations with the Republic of Slovenia, where the Italian minority has a guaranteed seat in the National Assembly, such a reduction in the number of parliamentarians is unfair and unacceptable to the Slovene national community. Therefore, the umbrella organisations SKGZ and SSO call on the members of the Slovenian national community in Italy to seriously consider the consequences of such a reduction in representation and to vote NO in a referendum".
The press release is signed by Ksenja Dobrila, SKGZ President and Walter Bandelj, SSO President.
At the end of July, FUEN President and MEP Loránt Vincze sent a letter to the President of the Senate, Maria Elisabetta Alberta Casellati, and the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Robert Fico, asking them to set up a Slovenian representation. In the letter, President Vincze underlined Italy's commitment under the Protection Act 38/2001 and stressed that the political representation of linguistic and ethnic communities was an indication of the very high level of democracy in a country. He also praised Italy for its constitutional provisions recognising the fundamental rights of minorities and stressed the importance of Articles 3 and 6 of the Constitution.
Further, the President of the FUEN stressed that the Slovenian representation in the Italian Parliament had to be made a reality with the new electoral law in preparation. Indeed, linguistic and national minorities must be adequately represented so that they can autonomously defend their own rights. With this in mind, Mr Vincze pointed to the great success of the European citizens' initiative Minority SafePack, in which the Slovene national community in Italy also took part.
The letter to the Presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies was concluded by FUEN President Loránt Vincze by mentioning the exemplary political representation Slovenia offers the Italian and Hungarian national communities in the National Assembly. This is the ideal model according to which the Slovenian national community in Italy can remain an active protagonist of political life in Italy.
More about the Council of Slovenian Organisations (SSO):
The Council of Slovenian Organisations (SSO) was founded on 16 December 1976 in Gorizia, Italy, with the aim of uniting all institutions, organisations and associations that profess Christianity, democracy and membership of the Slovenian people. The Council of Slovenian Organisations, which acts as the umbrella organisation of the Slovenian people in Italy, was founded through the joint efforts of Slovenians from the Italian provinces of Gorizia, Trieste and Udine.
The Council exercises the sense of belonging to the Slovene identity, language and habitat in all areas of contemporary society in Friuli Venezia Giulia and remains faithful to the three basic principles enshrined in its statutes. Together with its member institutions, organisations and associations, the Council is active in the fields of culture, sport, education, social welfare, music, politics and economics. The Council of Slovenian Organisations has been a member of FUEN since 2019.
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