Mesežnikov: Referendum results could back coalition's position

The results of the referendum, even if failed due to low turnout at 22.84 percent, can be seen as a support for the parties of the governing coalition when it puts the issues from the plebiscite before parliament, political analyst Grigorij Mesežnikov told TASR newswire.

The results of the referendum, even if failed due to low turnout at 22.84 percent, can be seen as a support for the parties of the governing coalition when it puts the issues from the plebiscite before parliament, political analyst Grigorij Mesežnikov told TASR newswire.

The initiator of the referendum, Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), will have the argument of very strong public support for the points raised in the plebiscite which are also included in government's programme, Mesežnikov has said.

The issues were the cancellation of mandatory monthly payments that support public-service broadcasters, limiting MPs’ immunity from prosecution, lowering the number of MPs from the current 150 to 100 as of the next election term, lowering the price of official cars bought by public bodies to less than €40,000, changes to the Press Code that would exempt public officials from the right to reply.

"SaS definitely cannot consider themselves to be the losers, as the (almost) 23-percent-turnout is an argument in favour of the support of their position," Mesežnikov has said as quoted by TASR.

He said that it will now be impossible for Smer to completely ignore the issue of reducing MPs' immunity.

Mesežnikov named several factors that contributed to the low turnout, such as insufficient activity of parties. They did not openly proclaim their anti-referendum stances, but did not actively engage in the referendum campaign either.

Another factor, according to Mesežnikov, was the negative experience with previous plebiscites in Slovak history, when only one has been declared valid so far: on Slovakia joining the EU (and it barely reached the turnout threshold).

The third factor contributing to the low turnout was that it was only three months after the general elections, Mesežnikov said as quoted by TASR.

Source: TASR

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