Slovenians reject with a clear majority controversial water law

Photo: EPA PM Janez Jansa

Slovenian voters have rejected with a clear majority a controversial water protection law that would have allowed the privatization of waterside land, news wires reported. After 94% of votes were counted, 86% had voted against the law, the state election commission in Ljubljana said on Sunday evening.

The law was agreed in March in parliament, where PM Janez Jansa's government has a ruling majority, dpa noted. It includes provisions that would allow investors and wealthy private citizens to obtain land on the banks of seas, lakes and rivers and use them for private means. These types of shores have so far been public property in Slovenia.

The referendum result will render the law invalid. At 44.5%, voter turnout was much higher than expected. The referendum was called after citizens' groups and environmental organizations collected more than 50,000 signatures.

Observers see the result as a slap in the face for Jansa's increasingly authoritarian government. The right-wing nationalist premier has repeatedly attacked critical media and the independent judiciary.

Slovenia took over the rotating EU Council presidency on 1 July for a six-month stint.

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