Parliamentary elections to last one day instead of two

INSTEAD OF having two days to cast their ballots, this year Slovaks will have only one day - June 17 - on which to vote in parliamentary elections. Every previous round of parliamentary elections in Slovakia lasted for two days.

Sociologist Pavol Haulík told the daily SME that by shortening the election period, state officials risked a low turnout. He noted the trend towards lower turnouts in elections in Slovakia.

In the nation's first democratic elections in 1990 over 95 percent of eligible voters cast ballots; in 1998 the figure was still over 84 percent. In 2002, however, turnout for national elections was down to 70 percent, while presidential elections in 2004 were attended by 47 percent, and the most recent round of regional elections in 2005 drew only 18 percent.

Slovakia's neighbour, the Czech Republic, still uses a two-day election model.

Interior Minister Martin Pado told the TASR news wire that the June 17 elections would be held under a new election law.

"Voting will be simpler in terms of arrangements, financing and fairness. No rigging will be possible," he said.

Another change enables Slovak citizens to send in their ballots by mail.

"The law offers this option to citizens who do not have a permanent address in Slovakia, as well as those who do live here, but will be out of the country on election day," Pado said.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

Voting by mail has been discussed by the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications, the Foreign Ministry and Slovak Post. In the coming days, the Interior Ministry will explain the rules of this form of voting to mayors and municipal employees.

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