POLITICAL parties have already received Sk445 million from the Finance Ministry awarded on the basis of their results in the recent parliamentary elections. During the entire four-year election term they will receive a total of Sk1 billion in state subsidies, compared to around Sk600 million in the previous election term.
Each of the parties that secured over 5 percent in the June 17 elections and that therefore won seats in the Slovak parliament has already received sufficient funds from the state to be able to pay back the loans it took for the election campaign, while some have also been able to pay off some of their older debts from the money.
According to political analyst Miroslav Kusý, the state contributions are too high. “Elections have become a great business in which it is worth competing and trying to achieve the 5 percent [threshold for entering parliament],” Kusý told the Sme daily.
The winner of the elections, the socialist Smer party, has received the highest sum so far – Sk116 million - for the 560,000 votes it gained. Smer also received Sk19 million in subsidies for its 50 MP mandates. By the end of the election term, Smer will gain a total of Sk315 million from the state.
The second most successful party according to the election results, the opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union, has received nearly Sk86 million so far, while the Hungarian Coalition Party and the Slovak National Party have received Sk55 million each. The Movement for a Democratic Slovakia got nearly Sk42 million, and the Christian Democratic Movement got Sk39 million.
Parties from both the current coalition and opposition approved an increase in the state subsidy for political parties last year by changing the way in which it is calculated. While in the 2002-2006 election term parties received a flat contribution of Sk60 per vote gained in elections, now the subsidy is calculated as one percent of the average monthly wage, or currently around Sk180 per vote.