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Reader feedback: Democracy's different flavours

Re: New regional coalition will challenge Hungarian hold, November 1 - 7, 2004, Vol 10, No 42

Democracy can be done in many ways. Some countries prefer to produce a strong government even when the vote is tightly balanced. Slovakia seems to have gone for this system in the regional elections, even though it rejects it at the national level.

In Britain, when the Conservatives were in power too long we used "tactical voting" to remove them without any official coalition. It was possible to read guides as to which party had the best chance in each constituency of beating the Tories, and we voted accordingly.

If you really hate the graft and pork-barrel politics of the SMK [the Hungarian Coalition Party], you would do better to prepare such a guide for the various obvody in the south (i.e., tell voters which is the best-placed, non-Hungarian party) than to dream about a Slovak coalition ktora nebude ani ryba ani rak or about banning a peaceful democratic party from an EU country.

I have never been able to understand why the "Slovak" parties refuse to reach out to voters in the south and prefer to just beat them to prop up their support elsewhere. This is the best way to guarantee the SMK 10 percent (and Pál Csáky as the deputy prime minister) forever.

Roger Heyes,
Žilina, Slovakia

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