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Slovaks pessimistic with provincial thinking

SLOVAK citizens continue to be significantly less satisfied with the life they live compared with the European average, the latest Eurobarometer 65 survey shows. The biggest difference is in the group of people who were very satisfied with their lives. In Slovakia this group of citizens accounts for only 9 percent of those surveyed, which is 12 percentage points less than the EU average. The European Commission conducted the survey in April 2006 when Slovakia was experiencing the run up to the June 17 parliamentary elections and Mikuláš Dzurinda's cabinet was still in power, the SITA news wire reported.

As many as 33 percent of Slovaks are unsatisfied with their lives, nearly 15 percentage points more than in the EU. Although this figure is quite unfavourable, the number of Slovaks who are satisfied has been moderately increasing since 2003. According to the survey, the majority of Slovak citizens expect no changes in their lives over the next twelve months. Just one third of Slovaks think their lives will improve while as much as 18 percent expect their situation to worsen. Compared with their European neighbors, significantly more Slovaks identify with the opinion that their situation had not noticeably changed in the last five years.

Thirty-eight percent see new coalition negatively

THIRTY-eight percent of Slovaks perceive the formation of the ruling coalition of Smer, the Slovak National Party (SNS) and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) as rather negatively or very negatively. On the other hand, 36 percent of the population expects that this coalition will be rather good or very good for the country. As many as 26 percent of respondents did not have any opinion on this issue or did not answer, according to a poll carried out by the Institute for Public Affairs think-tank in cooperation with the Focus polling agency between July 4 and 11, SITA wrote.

More optimistic expectations for the new government are found particularly among the oldest generation (43 percent), people with basic and middle education without leaving examinations (38 and 40 percent, respectively), job seekers (47 percent) and the retired (42 percent).

The most positive evaluation of the makeup of the new ruling coalition comes from citizens in the Trenčín region (50 percent).

On the other hand, 55 percent of people with university education, 61 percent of creative professionals, 51 percent of the Bratislava region's citizens and 77 percent of citizens of Hungarian nationality express negative expectations.

Fico the most trustworthy politician

THE MOST popular politician in Slovakia remains Smer leader and new Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. A public opinion poll conducted among 1,236 respondents by the Statistics Office's Institute for Public Opinion Research between July 1 - 10 shows that Fico enjoys the trust of 32.5 percent of Slovak citizens, an increase of around five percent in comparison with June, SITA wrote.

The chairman of the ruling Slovak National Party (SNS) Ján Slota is the second most trusted figure on the Slovak political stage, supported by 12.6 percent of respondents. He thus placed ahead of President Ivan Gašparovič with 10.6 percent. Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) leader Vladimír Mečiar is perceived as a trustworthy politician by 10.5 percent of those polled.

Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) chairman Béla Bugár is trusted by 9.4 percent, followed by Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) leader Mikuláš Dzurinda with 8.6 percent. New Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák has the trust of 7.1 percent of respondents. The SDKÚ's Ivan Mikloš and Iveta Radičová and the head of the Christian Democratic Movement Pavol Hrušovský also belong to the 10 most trustworthy figures in Slovak politics.

A total of 23.7 percent of those polled said they trust none of the current politicians.

Slovak population grows to 5,389,180

THE POPULATION of Slovakia increased by 4,358 in 2005, continuing the previous year's modest upward trend while maintaining a reversal of the downward trend recorded between 2001-03, the Statistics Office (ŠÚ) said on July 4.

According to ŠÚ information, as of December 31, 2005, there were 5,389,180 permanent residents in Slovakia.

Last year, 54,625 children were born in the country, including 28,081 boys (51.4 percent) and 26,544 girls. The birth figure includes 195 still-born babies. A total of 53,475 people died over the same period.

The current life expectancy is 70.1 years for men and 77.9 years for women. Deaths were mainly caused by diseases of the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems and by various forms of cancer.

The increase in population was caused by two factors. While there were 955 more live births than deaths, immigration increased by 3,403.

Population density in 2005 was 110 people per square kilometre, the TASR news agency wrote.

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