The parliamentary Committee on the Constitution proposed on Wednesday that Parliament formally ask the Constitutional Court to assess the constitutionality of the referendum question on outsourcing of non-core public-sector services.
The proposal was backed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) members of the Committee. The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) members did not attend, while Labour Party member Dragutin Lesar issued a dissenting opinion, unhappy with the rationale of the decision that such a question was constitutionally unacceptable.
“If this decision were adopted, the Sabor would not be asking the Constitutional Court to assess the constitutionality of the referendum question but to ban the referendum,” Lesar said.
The decision says that the proposed referendum question restricts freedom of enterprise, which is guaranteed by the Constitution and the EU Treaty.
“Such a referendum decision would introduce a centrally-planned economy which would not disgrace former Eastern bloc countries,” Committee chairman Pedja Grbin (SDP) said. He noted that European Union law provides for a socially-sensitive market economy and clearly tells the member states when they can restrict competition.
Lesar dismissed the explanation that the referendum question restricted freedom of enterprise, saying that by the same token the State Property Management Strategy could be regarded as unconstitutional because it bans privatisation of 27 state-owned companies.
The union representatives who attended the session protested because Grbin would not allow one of them to speak.