SLOVAKS will conclude their year of multiple elections with a final walk to their polling stations on November 27 for the balloting to determine mayors and members of municipal councils.
The deadline for registering as a candidate ended at midnight on Sunday, October 3 and the numbers of candidates that the local election commissions started releasing to the media were surprising in some cases.
In Bratislava, for instance, three candidates were expected to file candidacies for the office of mayor after the incumbent, Andrej Ďurkovský, a nominee of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), announced he would not run for re-election. The expected candidates were: Magdaléna Vašáryová, a member of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKU) and former Slovakia’s ambassador to Austria and Poland who is the joint candidate of the centre-right state-level ruling coalition parties; Milan Ftáčnik, a leftist mayor of Bratislava’s Petržalka district and a former education minister who has the support of Smer, the largest opposition party; and civic activist Alojz Hlina who has become known as a vocal critic of the Slovak National Party (SNS) by staging several types of protests against SNS and its leaders.
But in addition to these three candidates the Bratislava election commission announced that five more candidates for mayor have officially registered. The Sme daily reported that among the newly-emerging candidates are Jozef Bonko, Ján Budaj, one of the leaders of the November 1989 revolution against communism and Marek Blaha, a candidate backed by the Slovak Democratic Left (SDĽ) party and the Green Party. The remaining two candidates’ names will be published after the local election commission meets on October 7, the TASR newswire reported.
Citizens in most Slovak towns and cities citizens will be able to choose from among multiple candidates, usually between five and ten. In small villages the number is often lower but in many cases citizens will have a choice between at least two candidates.
The post of a mayor is a prominent and sought-after position in the regional capital cities. Six candidates registered with the Prešov election commission before the deadline and Košice citizens will select from among eight candidates, as will the voters in Banská Bystrica. In Trnava, four persons were registered for the mayoral post and six persons are running in Trenčín. In Žilina, 11 persons will compete for the post of mayor and Nitra features the largest number of candidates with 12 persons registering their names.
Apart from candidates who were nominated by a political party or by a coalition of several registered parties in Slovakia, there are many independent candidates. To be registered as a candidate a citizen must have a permanent address in the municipality where he or she seeks office. Independent candidates must also present a petition signed by a certain number of registered voters in the municipality, indicating their support for the independent candidate.
The number of signatures required on the petition depends on the size of the municipality. In villages with a population of up to 50 citizens a list of 10 signatures is required and in cities with over 100,000 citizens a candidate must have the signatures of at least 600 voters, public-service Slovak Radio reported.
Local councils also vary in size according to the population of the municipality. The number of members of local councils is approved by the sitting council at the end of its term in accordance with the limits established by law. Larger cities with populations over 100,000 citizens have between 23 and 41 representatives in their local councils.
Foreigners older than age 18 with permanent resident status in Slovakia will be entitled to vote in the municipal elections said Michal Kaliňák, the spokesperson of the Association of Towns and Villages of Slovakia (ZMOS).
“If a foreigner has permanent residence in a municipality, he or she has the right to vote for the self-administration bodies of the respective municipality and even has the right to be elected into one of the self-administration bodies of the respective village or town – that is as a mayor or as a members of the local council,” Kaliňák told The Slovak Spectator.
5. Oct 2010 at 11:20 | Michaela Terenzani