Serbia's MPs passed on Thursday the Law on Referendum and People's Initiative, which caused great concern among experts, NGOs, political parties and the general public because they believed it could abuse the people's will and that it was adopted to enable the Rio Tinto' lithium mine in the west of the country.
Part of the opposition says that the Government wants to use the Law to facilitate decisions concerning the resolution of the Kosovo issue.
„This law has nothing to do with Rio Tinto or Kosovo,“ said Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government Marija Obradovic told the Parliament, adding, „it should be repeated constantly.“
The central part of the Law is abolishing the census of half of the registered voters plus one for a successfully conducted referendum, so there is no longer a mandatory minimum of the number of people who turn out for the decision to be valid.
Some opposition politicians sharply criticised such a provision of the Law, saying that the Government could use the Law to impose its political will.
Environmentalists said they would block motorways for an hour if the Law was passed, and then the whole of the country if President Aleksandar Vucic signed the Law.
The Council of Europe’s Venice Commission welcomed the adoption of this Law. Still, in the urgent opinion forwarded to Serbia’s institutions, it expressed great regret that the Law came „on the agenda“ ahead of the referendum on the Constitutional changes.