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Slovenia latest European nation to recognise Palestinian state

By AFP - Jun 06,2024 - Last updated at Jun 06,2024

People hang a Palestinian flag in front of the Parliament building after the National Assembly recognised the Palestinian state following a parliamentary vote in Ljubljana, on Tuesday (AFP photo)

LJUBLJANA — Slovenia's parliament on Tuesday passed a decree recognising a Palestinian state, following last week's recognition by three other European states.

With the move in response to the devastating Gaza war, Slovenia becomes the latest to do so, pushing ahead with a vote in defiance of an opposition motion to derail it.

Fifty-two members of the 90-member parliament voted in favour of the government-sponsored decree to recognise a Palestinian state after a chaotic six-hour parliament session.

"Today's recognition of Palestine as a sovereign and independent state sends hope to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and in Gaza," Prime Minister Robert Golob wrote on the government's account on X after the vote as the Palestinian flag was raised in front of parliament.

The opposition boycotted the vote except for one lawmaker who attended but abstained.

Slovenia’s centre-left government sent the decree on recognising a Palestine state for parliamentary approval last Thursday as part of efforts to end the fighting in Gaza as soon as possible.

The conservative opposition Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) led by former prime minister Janez Jansa on Monday then filed a proposal to hold an advisory referendum on the recognition.

It said Slovenia should remain with the majority of EU states that have decided now is not the right time for such a move.

The government’s recognition “causes long term damage to Slovenia by supporting the terrorist organisation Hamas,” SDS said.

The party had expected to delay the vote since the legislation sets a 30-day deadline before lawmakers can vote on a disputed bill.

At Tuesday’s session, 52 lawmakers rejected the opposition motion for a referendum on the issue.

Parliamentary speaker Urska Klakocar Zupancic said the opposition had “abused the referendum mechanism” and announced parliament would proceed with the vote as planned.

She quoted legal interpretations, according to which the 30-day deadline referred only to bills rather than to decrees such as one recognising a foreign state.

Jansa accused the government of “taking decisions that go against the procedure and procedure is the foundation of the rule of law”.

Israel anger

Spain, Ireland and Norway recognised a Palestinian state last week, which brought to 145 the number of the United Nations’ 193 member states that have recognised the statehood, according to the Palestinian authorities.

With the decree, Slovenia recognises the Palestinian state within the territories set by a 1967 UN resolution or according to any future peace agreement reached by both parties.

Almost 60 per cent of Slovenians back the recognition of a Palestine state while 20 per cent oppose it, according to an April poll of 600 people published by the Dnevnik daily.

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