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Referendum 2009 committee seeks simultaneous vote with parliamentary elections

The petition committee for the Referendum 2009 initiative is shooting to hold its desired referendum along with either the parliamentary or municipal elections scheduled for 2010 and have written to Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič on January 25 to that effect, the TASR newswire wrote.

The petition committee for the Referendum 2009 initiative is shooting to hold its desired referendum along with either the parliamentary or municipal elections scheduled for 2010 and have written to Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič on January 25 to that effect, the TASR newswire wrote.

The letter asks whether the president is planning to have the referendum questions assessed by the country's Constitutional Court, according to Richard Sulík, head of the petition committee and chairman of the Freedom and Solidarity party (SaS).

“There are two options. Either the president will not turn to the Constitutional Court, in which case we'll file a request for calling the referendum, along with submitting the respective signatures, on February 17,” said Sulik, a businessman and former finance ministry advisor, to TASR, adding that this would enable the referendum and the general parliamentary election to be held on the same day, likely in June.

“The other option is that the president will turn to the court, in which case we'll file a request to call the referendum in late May, so that the referendum can take place on the day of the municipal elections [in autumn].”

A total of 340,000 verified signatures are on deposit in the office of the petition committee. Six questions are included in the Referendum 2009: abolishing television and radio concessionary fees; curbing MPs' immunity from criminal prosecution; downsizing the number of MPs from 150 to 100; setting the maximum purchasing price for cars used by government officials; and helping to make voting in elections available through the internet. The sixth question concerns removing the right to reply of public officials as it currently exists in the Press Code modified in 2008. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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