Slovenia: Proposal to reintroduce conscription defeated in parliament
On 5th March, Slovenian parliament voted against a bill reintroducing conscription, which was abolished in 2003. The bill, proposed by the incoming ruling party Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), was defeated in a 36:51 vote in parliament.
The bill was proposing a six-month compulsory military service for all male citizens aged 19, and twelve months of civilian service for conscientious objectors, working in non-military position. According to the proposal, women could be enlisted on a voluntary basis.
SDS made its plans to propose a bill reintroducing conscription public in January, when it was still in the opposition. According to SDS, reintroduction of conscription would not only help the Slovenian army struggling to enlist enough soldiers, but also strengthen “patriotism, national awareness and the psychophysical abilities of Slovenian citizens,” as reported by the Total Slovenia News.
On 25th February, right-wing SDS agreed on a coalition government with other three parties, including the center-left Party of Modern Center (SMC), the conservative New Slovenia (NSi) and the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS).
The new SDS-led coalition government is announced to be giving priority to tightening asylum procedures, strengthening the police force, and reintroducing conscription.
However, the bill to reintroduce conscription was not backed by the two parties, SMC and NSi, of the four-party coalition. DeSUS and National Party (SNS) supported the bill along side SDS, but failed to convince the others.
The Defence Ministry State Secretary Nataša Dolenc were among those opposing the bill saying that any changes to the current system should be based on a comprehensive analysis.
According to the Total Slovenia News, left-wing members of the parliament were the most critical. They highlighted that rather than proposing to reintroduce conscription, the state should come up with actual solutions for the problems Slovenian youth is facing today. They also announced that, should the proposal be adopted, they would use any means available to stop its implementation, including a referendum.