Party membership seen as advantage

SLOVAKS are not willing to join political parties, but are convinced that party members enjoy greater advantages than non-members, suggests a poll by the MVK agency for the SME daily.

The survey of 1,154 respondents between January 24 and 31 indicated that 65 percent of Slovaks have never been a member of any political party, and have no intention of joining one.

At the same time, 71 percent of respondents believed that members of parties receive preferential treatment over non-members.

Christian Democrat (KDH) MP František Mikloško blamed the general disinterest in party membership on the fact that style in politics is replacing substance. "Politics gets on people's nerves via advertising," he said.

According to Zuzana Dlugošová of the Citizen and Democracy NGO, the fact that 71 percent of those polled think that party members enjoy privileges is due to the endless succession of political scandals. "People may be disgusted by corruption in political circles, and link such practices to membership in political parties," she said.

Zuzana Wienk of the Fair Play Alliance NGO said she believed the problem was due to the many instances when party members have been given plum civil service posts.

Opposition Smer party deputy chairman Dušan Čaplovič noted that in an open society, citizens have the option to influence public affairs via NGOs instead.

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