PRESS digest: HOSPODÁRSKE NOVINY DAILY

" What Fico and Dzurinda don't achieve "
By Peter Vavro


News item: Slovakia held municipal elections on December 2.


The lines of party division in Slovakia are now more clear. Following June's parliamentary elections, people have also confirmed it in municipal elections, which duplicated their party preferences. In the countryside Smer ruled, while the SDKÚ took the cities. Given that half of the electorate turned out on Saturday, the results must be taken seriously, especially by those who want Slovakia to remain a proportional election system.

The parties of Robert Fico and Mikuláš Dzurinda showed that without them, the HZDS, SNS and KDH don't really have a chance. The exception is the SMK, which could nominate even a distant relative of Ján Slota in the south: as long as he was a member of the SMK, his opponents wouldn't have a chance. In mixed or Hungarian districts, the majority system has long applied (winner takes all), but after municipal elections this topic has become of interest to the two largest parties, as long as they manage to build up a regional presence like the SDĽ and KDH used to have.

Right-wing mayors and councillors will end up sitting on the largest pile of money, while the largest number of municipalities went to leftist candidates. For that reason, the elections had no clear winner, just a bunch of losers: Slota's debacle in Žilina, where he lost to an unknown SDKÚ candidate, is a serious blow to the influence of the nationalist leader. Žilina had become his family firm, and now he will have to build anew.

Nor did party support play a decisive role everywhere (i.e. Prešov and the mayoral elections in Bratislava's districts, where the right wing lost). Nevertheless, coming so soon after parliamentary elections, Saturday's vote was also more about party than program or personality.

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