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Railway project leads to political crisis in Slovenia

15 Mar 2018

SLOVENIA: Prime Minister Miro Cerar announced his resignation on March 14, after a court annulled the result of a September 2017 referendum in which 53·5% of voters had backed the government’s plans to build a 27 km second track to increase capacity on the route serving the Port of Koper.

The Taxpayers Don’t Give Up group had brought the case, arguing that the government had an unfair advantage in the referendum because it used €95 000 of public funds to support its campaign. The project was the biggest in the centre-left government’s investment programme, and opponents were concerned about the €1bn cost. Turnout in the referendum was just 20·5%.

After a decision of the constitutional court, the supreme court annulled the results of the referendum and the law authorising construction of the line became inoperative.

The existing single-track line from the port of Koper to the main line at Divača is 44·3 km long, but the proposed second track for use by trains heading inland would follow a different alignment which would be significantly shorter at 27·1 km.