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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le peuple slovène dit « Non » à la réforme des retraites

by Staff of L’Humanité

The People of Slovenia Say "No" to Pension Reform

Translated Tuesday 7 June 2011, by Richard Pond and reviewed by Henry Crapo

It was an overwhelming rejection - more than 70% said no to the reform plan that would have taken the legal retirement age from 63 up to 65. This is despite the centre-left government’s threat that it might need to embark on a tough policy of austerity if the "No" were to win.

Though turnout wasn’t great, with only 41% of electors voting, the result appears to be final: 72.17% of votes against the reform and 27.83% in favour. Yet the government had pushed for it. The Governor of the Slovenian Central Bank, too, had called for the population to vote "yes", warning people that a "no" to reform could imperil Slovenia’s credit rating, causing the cost of lending to rise, damaging competitivity and economic growth. For the moment, Slovenia’s credit score is AA (both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch) or Aa2 (Moody’s).

It’s the same story for the prime minister, who had nevertheless expected this result; he had already ruled out, beforehand, resigning in the case of a no vote. He had launched a stirring appeal on state television, making allusions to Greece or Ireland (Slovenia has been in the eurozone since 2004): "Until Sunday, we are still masters of our own destiny. But if we don’t back this reform, the public finances could collapse and then the masters of our destiny would be the states that would lend us money."

It remains only for the Slovenes to stay united against the austerity reforms that this small country of two million people risks falling prey to.

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