Polls, stats, trends

Pupils distrustful of cabinet, parliament, courts

A NEW poll by the Institute for Education, Information and Prognoses suggests that nearly half of Slovak high school students distrust the government, parliament and the judiciary.

The poll was part of an Education Ministry-sponsored research project entitled Civic and Political Participation of Slovakia's High School Youth and was conducted from February - November 2005 on a sample of 870 secondary school students aged 15-19.

The survey revealed 44.5 percent of students do not trust the country's government, 44.7 percent distrust parliament, and 43.8 percent lack trust in the judicial system.

As many as 54.9 percent do not trust political parties either.

European institutions were viewed most favourably, with 44.3 percent expressing their trust in the European Parliament and 42.2 percent in the European Commission.

Of Slovak institutions, only Greenpeace received a positive rating of 44.6 percent.

Party membership seen as advantage

PEOPLE remain unwilling to join political parties, but are convinced that party members enjoy favoured status at the expense of non-members, a survey by the MVK agency suggests, according to the SME daily.

The poll, carried out on 1,154 respondents between January 24-31, showed that as many as 65 percent of Slovaks have never joined a political party and have no intention of doing so. At the same time, 71 percent believe that party members receive preferential treatment at the expense of non-members.

Christian Democrat (KDH) MP František Mikloško blames general disinterest in party membership on the fact that politics is becoming simply a matter of marketing.

"Politics gets on people's nerves via advertising," he said.

According to NGOs, the fact that 71 percent of those polled think that party members enjoy favoured status can be explained in various ways.

"People may be disgusted by corruption in political circles, and link such practices to membership in political parties," said Zuzana Dlugošová of the NGO Citizen and Democracy.

The Fair Play Alliance's Zuzana Wienk thinks the problem is due to the many times favoured party members have been given civil service posts.

Opposition Smer party deputy chairman Dušan Čaplovič points out, though, that citizens in an open society have the option of influencing public affairs via NGOs.

Most and least trusted institutions in Slovakia

SLOVAK Radio's Media Research Department conducted a poll between March 14 and 20 on 3,158 respondents that showed the president is the most trusted institution in the country (70.6 percent).

The president is followed by the army (60 percent) and local municipal governments (almost 53.4 percent), the SITA news agency wrote.

Slovak churches and religious organizations have earned the trust of 49 percent of respondents.

The European Parliament is trusted by 46.7 percent.

The Slovak government and parliament, however, placed at the very bottom of the list at 26.6 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

After parliament and the government, the third least trusted institution was trade unions (53.7 percent), followed by the judiciary and prosecution attorneys (64 percent), county governments (53.2 percent), police (55.4 percent) and the European Parliament (39.1 percent).

Slovakia among EU countries with low water system connection rate

EUROSTAT, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, published figures showing that Slovakia is lagging behind regarding the number of households connected to the public water supply, the SITA news agency wrote.

A mere 84 percent of households had access to clean, fresh water in 2003. The situation was only worse in Estonia (72 percent) and Lithuania (76 percent).

Eurostat published the data on March 22, World Water Day.

Slovakia ranks even further behind in connection to wastewater collection systems, which remove pollutants before they are discharged back into the environment.

According to Eurostat data, 45 percent of Slovakia's population is not connected, which is better only than Cyprus, where 65 percent of inhabitants live without them.

In 25 EU countries, a 90 percent connection rate is the average.

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