Poor marks for prosecutor

INVESTIGATIONS currently being handled by the General Prosecutor’s Office are not proceeding in a satisfactory way, most Slovakia’s citizens believe, according to a recent poll conducted just as the present general prosecutor’s seven-year term draws to a close.

INVESTIGATIONS currently being handled by the General Prosecutor’s Office are not proceeding in a satisfactory way, most Slovakia’s citizens believe, according to a recent poll conducted just as the present general prosecutor’s seven-year term draws to a close.

The opinion poll was conducted by the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) between November 3 and 9, 2010, on a representative sample of 1,038 respondents. IVO noted in its report that data collection was mostly carried out just before the shooting dead of prominent lawyer Ernest Valko, killed in his home near Bratislava, on November 8.

The results of the poll show that most Slovak citizens are critical of the way that investigations proceed in cases of organised crime. As many as 65 percent of respondents said they were totally or relatively unsatisfied about this, while 14 percent expressed satisfaction with the way the general prosecutor proceeds in organised-crime cases. Discontent with investigations into organised-crime cases prevails across the political spectrum, regardless of respondents’ political preferences.

In the survey, IVO also asked respondents about some specific cases which the general prosecutor is still handling.

Most respondents were critical of the investigation of suspicions of illegal party financing of two of the major political parties: the opposition party Smer, and the senior ruling coalition party, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ). Altogether, 57 percent of respondents were not satisfied with the investigation of SDKÚ financing, while 54 percent said they were not happy with the enquiry into Smer’s financing. The portion of satisfied respondents in both cases did not exceed 13 percent.

In the case of SDKÚ financing, supporters of the opposition Smer and Slovak National Party (SNS) were most critical, as well as supporters of Most-Híd, of whom 65 percent said they were not satisfied with progress.

On the contrary, SDKÚ supporters were more tolerant of the investigation, with 47 percent of them expressing satisfaction. The same number was recorded by supporters of Smer who were satisfied with the progress of the investigation into that party’s financing. The ruling coalition parties’ supporters, however, were prevailingly unhappy with the case.

Most citizens were also dissatisfied with the investigation of corruption cases from the previous, Smer-led government’s term, such as the bulletin-board tender, social companies, and the emissions quotas sale.

The results of the poll show that 56 percent of Slovak citizens were critical of progress, while only 17 percent were satisfied. Another 27 percent said they were not interested in the investigations.

Discontent in this area prevailed among supporters of the ruling coalition and the opposition alike, although in some cases the dissatisfaction was less marked. Supporters of the current ruling coalition voiced strong criticism about the investigations: 76 percent among Most-Híd supporters, 68 percent among Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) supporters, 66 among SDKÚ supporters and 60 percent among Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) supporters.

The ratio between dissatisfied and satisfied respondents among Smer supporters is 49 percent to 25 percent respectively, while in the case of the SNS it is more even: 46 percent are dissatisfied with the investigation while 34 percent are happy with it.

A question about the case of Hedviga Malinová, a Hungarian-speaking Slovak citizen who in 2006 reported to the police that she had been assaulted in Nitra, apparently for speaking in her mother tongue while using a mobile phone, was also included in the survey. In 2007, Malinová was accused by police and ministers of lying, but no case has yet been brought against her.

In this case, 50 percent of respondents were critical of the investigation, while 21 percent said they believed it was going well. Another 29 percent said they were not interested. Citizens with a higher education and ethnic Hungarians were most dissatisfied about the case.



By Michaela Terenzani with press reports

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