THE QUALITY of democracy in Slovakia in 2013 declined slightly, with the country having earned 2.9 points, down by 0.1 point compared to the previous year.

This recent score was affected by developments in the final quarter of the year when the ranking dropped 0.2 points quarter-on-quarter, according to the barometer survey carried out by the Public Affairs Institute (IVO).

Scores are granted by the institute on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing the ideal state of democracy.

Regarding its 2013 evaluation, IVO experts reported the biggest drop in the area of democratic institutions and the state of law. The score fell from 2.75 in first quarter of the year to 3.5 at the end of the year. The main factor impacting the activities of constitutional bodies was the ruling Smer party’s efforts to concentrate power into its own hands, the TASR newswire reported.

“Also, in the last quarter of 2013, with the rigorously applied model of ‘tyranny of the majority’ Smer weakened the supervisory functions of parliament and restricted the space for the realisation of the legitimate political aims of the opposition parties,” Grigorij Mesežnikov from the IVO said, as quoted by TASR.

He added that the “tyranny of the majority” developed into the “syndrome of one party”.

IVO analysts also noticed a decline in the area of protecting and observing human and minority rights, with the average score having worsened from 3.0 to 3.2 points. In the remaining two categories, legislation and independent media, the ranking remained the same as in 2012, as reported by TASR.

Regarding legislation, the analysts criticised the fact that Smer deputies often submitted important amendments to the amendments filed by the government. This, according to Mesežnikov, allowed the government to avoid interdepartmental review of some important legislative changes. Moreover, the IVO pointed to the amendment to the law on assistance in material need, which parliament passed despite warnings from the opposition and the president that it might be unconstitutional, TASR wrote.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.