BILLBOARDS featuring solemn politicians striking their best poses, slogans cautioning Slovak voters against giving a ruling mandate to a particular coalition from the past, or instead urging them to dispatch the current ruling parties into opposition – or into political oblivion: these are the visible signs that Slovaks will be heading into the voting booths on June 12 to elect their next national parliament.
There are 18 parties vying for seats in the future parliament; to win any seats at all a party must get at least 5 percent of the national vote. The latest polls suggest that Smer, of the current ruling coalition, as well as opposition parties the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) and the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), are almost certain to return to parliament for another four-year stint. The recently-established Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party is also polling well and should cross the threshold.
But Most-Híd, a new party that broke away from the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK), as well as the SMK itself, and two parties that are part of the current ruling coalition, the Slovak National Party (SNS) and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), have been drifting in and out of the 5-percent relegation zone in most recent public opinion polls.
Several parties, including Smer and the SNS, have used their opposition to legislation passed by the Hungarian parliament as strong themes in their campaigns, with political pundits suggesting that the so-called Hungarian card will again play a role in Slovakia’s national election. However, playing the Hungarian card has not entirely overshadowed the controversial allegations swirling around Smer and the way it financed its past campaigns. This has made many opposition parties more reserved when talking about their plans for participating in a post-election coalition.
7. Jun 2010 at 0:00 | Beata Balogová