Successful Roma candidates in Slovak municipal elections: 22 mayors, more than 100 councilors
Yesterday Slovakia elected mayors of its municipalities and municipal districts, as well as members of local councils. The poll was the first significant test of the center-right government of Slovak PM Iveta Radičová, who took power after the June parliamentary elections and is implementing savings measures. According to preliminary results, Roma candidates have been very successful in the municipal elections. The Roma Initiative of Slovakia (Romská iniciativa Slovenska - RIS) saw 52 of its candidates become town councilors, while 50 candidates from the Roma Coalition Party (Strana romské koalice - SRK) were elected to such posts. Roma are also set to become the mayors of 22 municipalities, according to news server Rnl.sk.
As predicted by some analysts and research, less than 50 % of those eligible to vote went to the polls. Suspicions of vote-buying in the Roma community have surfaced in some regions.
Polls closed in most communities yesterday at 20:00 CET. Almost 3 000 municipalities have determined their leadership for the next four years.
The SRK won mayoral seats in five communities, while RIS now has two mayors. Even though the Roma parties ran separately, in the town of Bystrany their joint candidate, František Žiga, scored a victory. "The election in Jarovnice is a surprise, as the non-Roma mayor is to be replaced by Florián Giňa (SRK). Mária Oračková (LS-HZDS) has become the first Roma mayor of Lomnický. Otherwise, Roma in problematic communities did not see their candidates win," reports news server Rnl.sk. Incumbents stayed in office in Ostrovany, Rudňany and Plavecký Čtvrtek.
During the course of yesterday's poll, suspicions of illegal campaigning and the buying of Roma votes surfaced in several regions. At the Luník IX housing estate in Košice, inhabited mostly by Roma residents, voter intimidation was allegedly noted. The poll was shut down for 15 minutes and voting was then prolonged until 20:15 there. By law, those remaining at the poll when it closes may cast their votes after closing time, as may voters at polls that have experienced temporary closure.
In Kráľovský Chlmec, according to news server Sme.sk, Roma votes were purchased for EUR 5 each. In the towns of Martin and Žiar, buses were said to be taking Roma to the polls. Suspicions of trafficking in Roma votes also surfaced during the previous parliamentary and regional elections, but the charges were never proven.
List of Roma mayors and district mayors
Valkovňa – Rudolf Pokoš (SMER)
Hubice – Štefan Radics (SMER)
Jurské – Eduard Pompa (NEKA)
Podhorany – Jozef Oračko (ĽS – HZDS)
Stráne pod Tatrami – Gustav Bačo (MOST – HÍD)
Luník IX – Dioníz Slpečík (SDKÚ-DS, KDH, SMK-MKP)
Nitra nad Ipľom – Tivadar Berky (SDKÚ-DS)
Blatné Remety – Vladimír Sliško (SRK)
Jarovnice – Florian Giňa (SRK)
Barca - Richard Szajkó (SRK)
Cakov – Karol Bari (SDKÚ-DS)
Hodejov – Štefan Illéš (SRK)
Hostice – František Rácz (SDKÚ-DS, SMK-MKP, RIS)
Kesovce – Aladár Szajkó (SMK-MKP)
Martinová – Eugen Radič (RIS)
Sútor – Tibor Balog (HZD)
Šimonovce – Ernest Lakatoš (HZD)
Vieska nad Blhom – Attila Lakatoš (SRK)
Spišská Nová Ves
Bystrany – František Žiga (SRK, RIS, SSS)
Richnava – Vladimír Pokuta (RIS)
Žehra – Ivan Mižigár (NEKA)
Lomnička – Mária Oračková (ĽS-HZDS)