The number of citizens of Slovakia who say they understand politics has increased from fifteen years ago. While in 1994, around 36 percent of the citizens of Slovakia said they understood what is happening on the political stage, a survey called “Citizenship and Participation” conducted last year showed the figure going up by eight percentage points, the SITA newswire wrote.
The Slovak Academy of Sciences, along with several partners, surveyed 1,270 citizens last November. The survey also shows, however, that the number of Slovaks who say they do not understand political developments remains high. Their share last year was 53 percent, compared to 61 percent in 1994.
The head of the research team, Jana Plichtová, said that the survey registered progress in citizens’ readiness to take part in politics and to actively shape it while at the same time the survey registers apolitical attitudes and expectations that is up to politicians to manage political life.
Plichtová believes that tougher control of political power, comprehensibility of politicians and transparent reasoning of government and parliamentary decisions can increase citizens’ involvement in politics. She said that it appears that in other countries also that the quality of the political elite's decision-making becomes better with a growing number of people involved in politics.
The research found that the strongest factor influencing understanding of politics is education. Fifteen years ago, almost one-third of people with university education said they understood politics while last year it was around 70 percent.
One third of respondents said that they follow political developments at least once a week. In contrast, thirteen percent of Slovaks said they are not interested in politics at all.
Plichtová noted that more than fifty percent of Slovak citizens said they are interested in political issues and that these numbers are similar to other developed countries. She said she would not rank Slovakia among those that can be called ‘political ignoramuses’ but at the same time it cannot be characterized as a country obsessed with politics. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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26. Mar 2009 at 15:00