Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Prezidentská kampaň

ANY ENGLISH-SPEAKER has a fairly good chance of understanding the meaning of the term “prezidentská kampaň”. Getting your head around the way local campaigns actually work, however, is a much tougher task - even for Slovaks.

ANY ENGLISH-SPEAKER has a fairly good chance of understanding the meaning of the term “prezidentská kampaň”. Getting your head around the way local campaigns actually work, however, is a much tougher task - even for Slovaks.

First on the list of absurdities is the election law. The campaign officially starts only two weeks before voting day. Since that is nowhere near enough, the presidential hopefuls do their best to circumvent the legislation. And so you see billboards on which MPs, party leaders, or current heads of state pretend not to be running for office, merely reminding you of their existence, merits and virtues. Why hasn’t anyone tried to have the law amended? Go figure.

Thanks to the incredibly confusing wording of the constitution, no one knows what would happen if someone received more than half of the votes cast in the first election-round. Do we have a winner? Is there to be a second round? We will have to cross that bridge if and when we come to it.

Then there is the substance and style of the campaign. That public broadcasters refuse to allow direct debates between candidates, replacing them instead with boring interviews with pre-defined questions, is a tradition. But this time it seems the private TV networks will not be able to organise a direct debate either, because the current president has – at least so far – refused to participate in one.

And then there is the creativity of the candidates. In her ads, Zuzana Martináková uses a Road-narrowing!” traffic sign to represent her rival Radičová. The symbolism remains to be explained. Martináková’s team has said they will not use celebrity endorsements. Why not? “Well, can you imagine Barack Obama using a celeb in his campaign?” was the response of Martináková’s election team.

Radičová had been watching the Obama campaign a little more closely. So much so, that she has virtually copied one of his ads.

Among the president’s more prominent supporters is a university professor who has been the subject of numerous reports in the Slovak media (including the Sme daily) because of his alleged harassment of female students. And with the president, just two weeks before the election, still unable to say whether or not he would post joint billboards with extremist Ján Slota, the picture is complete.

There may be many presidential campaigns. But there is only one prezidentská kampaň.

Lukáš Fila is the deputy editor-in-chief of Sme

Top stories

LGBTI people in the regions: We change people’s minds

Bratislava will dress up in rainbow colours this August again, for the seventh time. This will be for the Bratislava Dúhový Pride diversity festival. But the colours of the rainbow are less bright in the regions,…

Slovakia’s LGBTI community seeks to expand their rights.

Things that make us different also make us stronger

On August 19, a rainbow flag will fly over the US Embassy in Bratislava to represent the firm commitment of the United States to defending the human rights of LGBTI people, writes Ambassador Sterling.

The rainbow flag flew over the US Embassy in Bratislava in 2016.

Blog: 5 things you should do on your visit to the north of Slovakia Photo

Here is a list of tips by an experienced tour guide - including things you have probably not tried before.

Bratislava growing high Photo

High-rise buildings sprouting up in Bratislava

Visualisation of the future skyline of Bratislava