Slovak Police investigating suspicions of vote-buying in Romani settlements
Police in Slovakia are investigating whether vote-buying has occurred in two Romani settlements in eastern Slovakia, where two lesser-known candidates for the governing party Směr-Sociální Demokracie (Direction-Social Democracy - Směr-SD), Peter Chudík and Stanislav Kubánek, won many more preferential votes than Slovak PM Robert Fico, the party's chair and most popular politician. Parliamentary elections were held in Slovakia more than a week ago.
News server Aktuality.sk reports that police do not want to comment on the investigation. Corrupting an election is a felony in Slovakia.
Romani residents of the municipality of Lomnička told Slovak public television station RTVS that the mayor bought residents cigarettes and told them to support the two candidates. The mayor has refused to comment on the information, saying only that she did not go to the polls with those voters.
In Lomnička, Směr-SD won almost 83 % of the votes cast, significantly higher than the statewide results for the party (28.28 %). Kubánek and Chudík - who is also the Governor of the Prešov Region - have both rejected the allegations of wrongdoing.
Those two candidates also earned significantly better electoral results than Fico in the Romani settlement of Rakúsy. Both candidates were listed between number 10 and 20 on the Směr-SD candidate list.
Směr-SD ultimately won 49 seats in the 150-seat, unicameral legislature. Slovak MP Lucia Nicholsonová, who represents the strongest right-wing party in Slovakia, Freedom and Solidarity (Svoboda a solidarita - SaS) pointed out in a social media post that in the electoral results for the village of Chminianske Jakubovany, where Romani people also live, a particular candidate for the Tip party (which did not make it into Parliament) also earned many votes, unlike its showing in other regions.
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