LESS THAN 23 PERCENT OF VOTERS TURNED OUT

Referendum fails to stir interest among Slovaks

A MAJORITY of Slovak voters ignored the referendum held on Saturday, September 18, adding another plebiscite to the list of those that have failed, according to official results presented by the Central Commission for Referendum. Only 22.84 percent of voters turned out to answer the six referendum questions. In Slovakia, a referendum is only valid if more than 50 percent of all registered voters take part.

Counting votes in a district of Banská Bystrica. Counting votes in a district of Banská Bystrica. (Source: SITA)

A MAJORITY of Slovak voters ignored the referendum held on Saturday, September 18, adding another plebiscite to the list of those that have failed, according to official results presented by the Central Commission for Referendum. Only 22.84 percent of voters turned out to answer the six referendum questions. In Slovakia, a referendum is only valid if more than 50 percent of all registered voters take part.

Each voter was required to answer at least one of the six questions in order for his or her ballot to be valid.

The first question, which asked whether the mandatory monthly payments that support public-service broadcasters should be cancelled, was answered positively by 87.24 percent of those who voted, while 9.02 percent said no.

95.40 percent of participants voted to limit MPs’ immunity from prosecution, while 1.73 percent voted against any restriction.

The third question, on lowering the number of MPs from the current 150 to 100 as of the next election term, was answered positively by 92.76 percent of voters, while 3.85 voted against.

The fourth question touched on the price of official cars bought by public bodies, asking whether the price of limousines should be limited to less than €40,000. This question got a positive response from 88.84 percent of voters, while 6.16 percent said no.

Of all the voters who took part in the referendum, 70.46 percent agreed that online voting should be introduced for national and European elections, while 22.22 percent did not agree.

Finally, 74.93 percent of voters agreed with the idea of excluding those holding public office from the right to reply under the Press Code. 13.44 percent of voters disagreed.

The Focus polling agency had forecast before the vote that turnout at the referendum would only reach around 20 percent, based on a survey it carried out during the first week of September. Despite being generally unwilling to vote, the poll revealed that Slovaks were positive about most of the issues that the referendum touched upon.

The organisation of the referendum falls under the authority of the Interior Ministry which has been allocated almost €6 million from the state budget to cover the costs of voting. Slovakia’s Statistics Office, responsible for counting of the votes, will get an additional €1.26 million. Altogether the referendum cost around €7,224,000.

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