Slovenian MPs confirm amendments allowing army deployment at border

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Baku, October 21, AZERTAC

The measure could take effect in a week at the earliest and will be used if necessary, according to Slovenian Press Agency, STA.

The amendments to the defence act received cross-partisan support, with only the opposition United Left (ZL) voting against after a lengthy debate that started on Tuesday evening.

The amendments proposed by the government include a new article stipulating that the National Assembly may authorize the Slovenian Armed Forces in exceptional circumstances to protect the border.

Soldiers would be allowed to warn, direct and temporarily restrict the movement of persons, as well as engage in crowd control, a measure put in place until necessary but no longer than three months, with optional extension.

The soldiers would have roughly the same powers as police officers based on a plan jointly prepared by the police and the General Staff.

The deployment required a two-thirds majority of the MPs, and it received more than that, with 66 of the total of 90 MPs voting in favour.

Prime Minister Miro Cerar told the MPs at the session that the government was stepping up measures to secure adequate control of the inflow of migrants. The military has been already helping the police logistically, he added.

The additional powers granted to the army will be activated if the influx of migrants gets unmanageable for the units which are currently on the ground, Cerar said, while Defence Minister Andreja Katic added that the army would merely help the police and not take over police tasks.

The changes are expected to enter into force in a week as the deadline for motions for a referendum will have passed by then.

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