THE LISTS of candidates the parties must submit ahead of the upcoming elections to regional parliaments are now closed. A total of 67 candidates are competing for the eight posts of heads of the country's regional administrative units (VÚC), and 2,676 regional politicians are running for a total of 412 seats as regional MPs.
However, the public remains uninterested in the November 26 regional elections, according to the Pravda daily.
Polls indicate that just 20 percent of the population are planning to vote in the elections.
Four years ago, when the first regional elections in Slovakia's post-communist history were held, the voter turnout was also disappointing, with just 26 percent of the electorate showing up at polling stations.
"This is also because citizens do not identify with the regional administrations and do not know what the [administration's] powers are. Also, the regional politicians do not communicate with people too much," said Viktor Nižňanský, the architect of Slovakia's decentralization process, which led to the creation of regional governments.
Politicians themselves are also showing a lack of interest in the elections. Four years ago, 133 people competed for the VÚC head posts compared to this year's 67, and more than 4,000 ran for the posts of regional MPs as opposed to the current 2,676.
According to sociologist Pavel Haulík, this decline can be attributed to the fact that the first regional elections brought optimistic some political groups back down to earth.
"The first elections showed that it makes no sense for small parties to run. Independent candidates also have very little chance of being elected, and that is why there are fewer [candidates] now," Haulík told Pravda.
- Martina Jurinová
24. Oct 2005 at 0:00