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Sector
Industrials
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Small Cap
Market Cap £247.5m
Enterprise Value £260.7m
Revenue £181.7m
Position in Universe 126th / 646

Slovenian government faces test in pre-election investment referendum

Thu 21st September, 2017 2:16pm
By Marja Novak 
    LJUBLJANA, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Slovenians vote in a 
referendum on Sunday on whether the government should pursue 
construction of a 1-billion-euro ($1.20 billion) railway to its 
main Adriatic port - a test of the government's popularity ahead 
of elections next year. 
    Given the opposition's lead in opinion polls and criticism 
of the project as too expensive, analysts see possible changes 
in the centre-left coalition government ahead of the elections 
in June or July 2018 if the railway gets a thumbs-down in the 
referendum. 
    "If (it) is rejected that would be a strong blow to the 
government, particularly the leading party SMC (Party of the 
Modern Centre)," Meta Roglic, political analyst at the daily 
Dnevnik, told Reuters. 
    Opinion polls have forecast varying outcomes of the 
referendum but suggest turnout might not be sufficient to block 
the railway project. A poll published by daily Delo said voters 
would narrowly reject the project, while another released by 
Dnevnik said voters would back it by a 53-29 percent margin. 
    Under Slovenian law, a minimum 20 percent of some 1.7 
million eligible voters would be needed to sink the project, in 
addition to a majority of those voting. 
    Civil society group Taxpayers Don't Give Up and the leading 
opposition group, the centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party 
(SDS), pushed for the referendum, saying the railway line as 
projected by the government is too costly.  ID:nL8N1JV48Z  
    The government says the 27-km (17-mile) rail link between 
Koper and the town of Divaca is necessary to speed up freight 
traffic to and from Slovenia's only port  LKPG.LJ  and improve 
the port's competitiveness.  ID:nL8N1G91SN  
    The government has received 44.3 million euros in EU funding 
for preparation of the track while neighbouring Hungary said it 
is willing to invest about 200 million euros as it relies on 
Koper for much of its seaborne freight.  ID:nL5N1HE38Y  
    The opposition SDS has led in opinion polls for most of the 
past year. But government parties hope to improve their ratings 
by advancing the railway project, raising family subsidies and 
the lowest tier of wages, and injecting more money into the 
state health sector in the coming months. 
    ($1 = 0.8333 euros) 
 
 (Reporting by Marja Novak; editing by Mark Heinrich) 
 ((Marja.Novak@thomsonreuters.com; +386-1-5058805, Reuters 
Messaging: marja.novak.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) 
 
Keywords: SLOVENIA REFERENDUM/
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