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 that few are interested.
So far, only 300 expatriates have registered with the local municipality office in Petržalka, which handles voters from abroad, the Pravda daily wrote.
"I expect there will 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, given that it was Slovak expatriates who had most praised the new Elections Act enabling them to vote.
Prívarová said there was sufficient information about the elections. "The Office sent letters to 80 major Slovak associations abroad and advertisements were published in the press in the Czech Republic, where a large Slovak community lives," she said. Similar information was also published by expatriate media, embassies and the Foreign 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."
1. May 2006 at 0:00 | From press reports