Constitutional Court to be asked to decide on required number of referendum signatures

Zagreb, 20.12.2013 - Sjednica Ustavnog suda RH na kojoj æe se odluèiti o prijedlogu za pokretanje postupka za ocjenu suglasnosti s Ustavom i zakonom Vladine odluke o uvoðenju radne obveze doktorima medicine. Na slici Marko Babiæ, predsjednica Ustavnog suda Jasna Omejec i Ivan Matija. foto FaH/ Denis CERIÆ /dc

The parliamentary Committee on the Constitution unanimously decided on Thursday to propose to Parliament that it formally request an interpretation from the Constitutional Court whether the civil society initiative “In the Name of the Family” gathered enough signatures for a referendum to amend the section of the Constitution relating to parliamentary elections.

The initiative has gathered 380,649 signatures and submitted them to Parliament to call the referendum at which voters would decide whether or not they are opposed to pre-election coalitions and in favour of preferential voting without a prohibitive clause, reducing the number of constituencies and lowering the election threshold from the present 5% to 3%.

Leaders of the initiative believe that they met the constitutional requirement for signatures of 10% of voters resident in Croatia and that citizens of Croatia not residing in the country are not counted when it comes to referendum petitions.

According to the Ministry of Public Administration, more than 4.5 million voters were registered in Croatia in October.

“Last year, when there was no doubt that more than 10% of signatures were gathered, In the Name of the Family insisted that it should be stated for the record that they were delivering 36 books with signatures of voters without residence in Croatia. They did not mind then that this Committee, the Ministry, the Government and Parliament included those signatures in the total count,” said Committee chairman Pedja Grbin of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Grbin said that an interpretation of the Constitutional Court was necessary to clarify this matter for future referendum initiatives.