A candidate who receives an absolute majority of valid votes from all eligible voters can become president in the first election round. Slovakia’s Central Election Commission agreed on this interpretation of the Constitution at its first meeting after its members were sworn in. Ten of its twelve members voted for the resolution while two refrained from voting, the SITA newswire reported.
The interpretation was proposed by the commission's vice chairperson, Katarína Tóthová, of the coalition Movement for Democratic Slovakia (HZDS). Lawyers have differed in their opinions as to whether the Constitution refers to an absolute majority of voters who take part in the elections or of all eligible voters.
Having a clear interpretation is important before the first round of these presidential elections, scheduled for March 21, since public opinion polls show that incumbent President Ivan Gašparovič may have a chance to win in the first round.
The commission's position increases the number of votes needed for victory, thus complicating Gašparovič's chances for a first-round victory. But only the Constitutional Court can issue a binding interpretation of the Constitution.
“The Central Election Commission is of the opinion that an absolute majority of valid votes from all eligible voters is needed for election of the President of the Slovak Republic,” said Tóthová, as quoted by SITA.
Compiled by Michaela Stanková from press reports
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20. Feb 2009 at 10:00