THE QUALITY of democracy in Slovakia was given an overall grade of 3.1, a mark that in a Slovak school would mean just average performance, according to a barometer published by the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO), a non-govenmental think-tank. The standards, used by the European Union to assess the quality of democracy in a country, are represented on a scale from one to five, with a score of 1.0 being the optimal state of democracy, the TASR newswire wrote.
The grade of 3.1 for the last quarter of 2008 represents the fourth consecutive quarterly decline in the quality of Slovak democracy. From a grade of 2.6 in the beginning of 2008, the barometer decreased to 2.8 in the second quarter and to 2.9 in the third quarter.
Independence of the media was assessed worst among all the categories, with an overall grade of 3.5. Democratic institutions and the rule of law received a grade of 3.25, down 0.25 points compared to the third quarter. Slovakia’s performance in the areas of legislation, human rights and minority rights were also worse than earlier in 2008, TASR reported.
The president of IVO, Grigorij Mesežnikov, said that the last quarter of 2008 was characterised by a greater degree of party and political clientelism among some circles of the ruling coalition. He added that the government was putting political pressure on regulatory bodies that are supposed to be independent.
On the other hand, the IVO representatives were positive about some changes in antidiscrimination policies initiated by the Justice Ministry, especially in the amendments to the Anti-discrimination Act, the Code of Civil Procedure and the law on procedure fees.
The average grade in 2008 for the quality of Slovak democracy was 2.9.
19. Jan 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by the Spectator staff from press reports