The pressure on the government is not letting up as pensioners staged the fourth monthly rally in Ljubljana on Wednesday, demanding higher pensions and the government’s resignation.
Led by the Voice of Pensioners, an informal group headed by former MP Pavel Rupar, the protesters carried signs targeting the government and journalists, expressing criticism of their attitude towards pensioners.
In the fourth rally in as many months, the protesters demanded a 20% pension rise and decried government plans to abolish a special kind of top-up health insurance that is the government’s keystone project as disingenuous.
In front of the Presidential Palace, the protesters criticised a bill on assisted suicide filed by a group fighting for dignified old age that has been spearheaded by President Nataša Pirc Musar’s adviser Biserka Marolt Meden. “We want life, not death,” the crowd chanted.
The government was accused of neglecting pensioners, and while Rupar said they were open to talks with the government, they expect concrete proposals – otherwise, they will “show the government the door” and demand “new elections to produce a new government.”
The rallies, whose organisers have close ties with the Democrats (SDS), the main opposition party, come in the aftermath of massive protests by farmers.
Analysts see both protests as a form of pressure on the government amidst sluggish efforts to reform pensions, the health system and the public administration that have the potential to tear the ruling coalition apart.