Slovak Parliament changes regional election rules, extremists could benefit
The Slovak Parliament has changed the rules for the direct election of the chairs (Governors) of the country's eight self-administered regions less than a year before the next elections are to be held. According to the opposition, the amendment could aid extremist candidates including some incumbents, six of whom were supported during the 2013 elections by the Social Democrats headed by Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico (Směr-SD).
The bill to abolish the existing two-round runoff voting method for electing Regional Governors was pushed through in the legislature by coalition MPs on 3 February. If the Slovak President signs the amendment to the law, whichever candidates simply get the most votes this year in one round will become the next Regional Governors.
Up until now a Regional Governor was elected by the first round only if more than half of the votes were cast for that candidate. The governing coalition MPs justified the change by saying voter turnout during the second round of regional elections has been low in Slovakia.
The next elections for Regional Governor are scheduled to take place in Slovakia this November. Slovak MP Martin Klus of the strongest opposition party, "Freedom and Solidarity" (Svoboda a solidarita) said during parliamentary debate that in single-round elections, votes are diluted among the many candidates competing an anti-establishment or extremist forces might, therefore, succeed.
Of course, it was the runoff system that most recently aided the current head of the ultra-right party called "Kotleba-People's Party Our Slovakia" (LSNS), Marian Kotleba, with surprisingly became Regional Governor of the Banská Bystrica Region. He defeated the incumbent running for Směr-SD, Vladimír Maňka, who eked out a victory during the first round of voting only to be trounced by Kotleba in the final round.
The Slovak Parliament also voted on 3 February to change the Constitution, deciding in favor of allowing the Regional Governors and the members of the Regional Assemblies who will be elected this year to serve five-year terms instead of the usual four. That step will make it possible for the 2022 elections for Regional Governors, mayors of cities and municipalities and members of local assemblies to be held all at the same time.
- Slovakia: Romani businessman stopped from distributing food to the homeless by authorities
- Slovakia: More than 50 children from socially deprived families institutionalized since year began
- Slovakia: Entrepreneur organizes food distribution to the needy
- Slovakia: MP for fascist party criticizes recipients of state honors because of their origins and work
- Slovak President gives state honors to 20 figures, including Czech politician
- Slovak President addresses anti-Romani sentiment in New Year's Day speech
- Slovakia: Commander of brutal police raid against Romani people prosecuted
- Slovak PM targets Roma in his speeches, critics say he should focus on his own corruption scandals
- Slovakia: Many youth support the ultra-right, study finds
- About 1 000 Romani residents of a single Slovak village have been working in Britain and now fear Brexit
- Slovak President says education is the way to address Romani issues
- Commentary on eviction in Slovakia: A rational society does not make a profit from or save money on the poor
- Slovakia: Study says failure of mainstream parties supports right-wing extremism
- Slovak Roma Spirit awards for 2016 go to antiracist campaigner and Mayor of the Luník IX housing estate
- UN Human Rights Committee asks Slovak Government for independent body to investigate the forced sterilizations of Romani women
- Petr Torák: Hate crimes spiked in the UK after the Brexit referendum, what will the elections bring?
- Slovakia ahead of elections: Romani candidate suing fascists for defamation
- Czech expert says haters' attention is fixating on Roma again, "migration" as a subject is over
- Czech intelligence: Right-wing extremists return to anti-Roma rhetoric, public tolerance of racism and xenophobia in politics rising
- Czech fan of ultra-nationalist party gets suspended sentence for wearing Nazi symbols to demonstration
- Germany: Right-wing extremists "patrolling" in Berlin
- Austria: Wiener Symphoniker names Dalibor Karvay its new first concertmaster
- LIVE BROADCAST TODAY AT 19:00 CET: "Light in the Darkness" - Romani community gives awards in Slovakia
- Poland: Ultra-right members arrested for planning terrorist attack days after ultra-right march in the capital
- Slovakia: Ultra-right calls for "asocials" to be sent to labor camps, police investigating
- German Govt approves measures to combat right-wing extremism, requires social media firms to report IP addresses of users making death threats
- Michal Mižigár: What democracy brought us Romani people in the Czech Republic in the 1990s