THIS MONTH’S regional elections are likely to be the last big issue on this year’s political agenda in Slovakia, coming just after one of the annual milestones – the passing of the state budget. Voters in the country’s eight regions will vote to elect regional presidents and members of Slovakia’s regional parliaments on November 14. Regional president candidates need to obtain more than fifty percent of the votes cast in their region to avoid a run-off on November 28 – none were expected to.
According to the Statistical Office, 3,473 candidates are running for a total of 412 seats in the eight regional parliaments, with some large regional differences in the numbers. While in Trnava Region there are fewer than 250 candidates for regional deputies’ seats, in Košice and Prešov the number exceeds 540.
Citizens will also elect the presidents – sometimes known as governors – of the eight Self-Governing Regions (VÚCs). There are 56 candidates bidding for these posts, the most powerful in regional politics in Slovakia.
According to sociologist Pavel Haulík, whether the regional elections reflect anything meaningful about political support at the national level will depend mainly on the turnout.
“First of all, if the turnout if extremely low, the [predictive value of the] results will not be very relevant,” Haulík said.
Observers are estimating a turnout of about 20 percent, slightly higher than during the previous regional elections in 2005.