Slovak expatriates not interested in election

SLOVAKIA's two million expatriates will have the right to vote in parliamentary elections for the first time this June, but registration numbers a week before the deadline show only a very small number are interested, the daily Pravda wrote.

So far, only 300 expatriates have registered with the local municipality office in Petržalka, which handles voters from abroad.

"I expect there to be 500 applications in total," Denisa Paulenová from the office said.

Vilma Prívarová, who heads the Office of Slovaks Living Abroad, is surprised by the lack of interest because, according to her, it was Slovak expatriates who most praised the new Elections Act enabling them to vote.

Prívarová said there was sufficient information about the election. "The Office sent letters to 80 major Slovak associations abroad and advertisements were published in the Czech press, where a large Slovak community lives," she said. Similar information was also published by expatriate media, embassies and Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Expatriates who wish to vote must do so via post. After sending an application to Slovakia, the potential voter receives an envelope that must be returned with a completed ballot.

"It is likely that this style of voting is too difficult for older people," Prívarová said. "We should consider simplifying it for the next election," she added.

According to Paulenová, another problem is that applications are submitted incomplete. The most applications come from the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, and Israel.

"Older people apply mainly from the USA and Canada," Paulenová noted.

Compiled by Marta Ďurianová from press reports
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