Justice Minister has Most's Support for New Referendum Bill

By 25 January 2022
Justice Minister has Most's Support for New Referendum Bill

ZAGREB, 25 Jan 2022 - Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said on Tuesday he had the support of the Bridge opposition party for a new referendum bill, adding that its MPs welcomed certain solutions, including signature verification monitoring.

Speaking to the press, he said he received the support during the first reading in parliament and that there was no reason for representatives of referendum petitions not to monitor signature verification.

Malenica said the new referendum bill envisaged the State Electoral Commission checking if enough signatures had been collected as an independent body.

Bridge has recently collected over 400,000 signatures for a referendum against COVID certificates.

"Perhaps the new law will be passed in the meantime, but the current referendum procedure is under the currently valid law," the minister said.

Asked about the opposition's proposal for including an inter-party commission in referendum monitoring, he said those initiating referendums would be able to nominate their members to the commission.

Under the current law, he said, referendum advocates as well as those against it can participate in signature verification and referendum monitoring.

Whistleblower protection 

Asked how the position of whistleblowers Adrijana Cvrtila and Maja Đerek could be improved by law, Malenica said he would rather not comment on specific cases.

He said the new whistleblower protection bill envisaged internal reporting, external reporting to the ombudsman, and public disclosure via the media.

The bill increases protection through the courts and the three reporting channels, he said, adding that courts protect whistleblowers from revenge, including from employers.

"This quality bill should encourage individuals to report irregularities and to have all the protection envisaged by the new law."