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Traditional festival turns into political parade

THE VÝCHODNÁ annual folk music and dance festival unexpectedly turned into a political promotion arena after a light plane cruised over the area dropping thousands of opposition Slovak National Party (SNS) campaign leaflets.
The leaflets - billing themselves as an "uncensored newspaper" - informed Východná festival's estimated 4,000 visitors of the SNS's political programme, evidence that with September's general elections only 10 weeks away, political parties will take any opportunity to make themselves visible to the electorate.
Festival head Jozef Burič said he had not been informed that the plane would be flying over the arena, and said he would ask his lawyers to look into ways of charging the organisers of the flight.

THE VÝCHODNÁ annual folk music and dance festival unexpectedly turned into a political promotion arena after a light plane cruised over the area dropping thousands of opposition Slovak National Party (SNS) campaign leaflets.

The leaflets - billing themselves as an "uncensored newspaper" - informed Východná festival's estimated 4,000 visitors of the SNS's political programme, evidence that with September's general elections only 10 weeks away, political parties will take any opportunity to make themselves visible to the electorate.

Festival head Jozef Burič said he had not been informed that the plane would be flying over the arena, and said he would ask his lawyers to look into ways of charging the organisers of the flight.

The 48th annual festival also saw more political officials on the ground than visitors may have expected.

News commentators later said politicians had seen the popular festival as a perfect opportunity to make appearances and shake hands with visitors.

The final programme was attended by around 30 politicians and cabinet officials, including Parliamentary Speaker Jozef Migaš, Agriculture Minister Pavel Koncoš, Education Minister Peter Ponický, and Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda.

-Martina Pisárová

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