The quality of democracy in Slovakia improved in the second half of 2010, according to a report published on Thursday, January 20, by the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO). It rated the quality of democracy as having reached a mark of 2.8 in the last quarter of 2010, while the overall mark for the state for the whole year was 3.2. IVO evaluates the level of democracy with marks varying from 1 to 5, with 1 being the optimum state.
IVO hailed the fact that in spite of its parliamentary majority a “tyranny of the majority” which it said applied under the previous government no longer exists, and that MPs of the current ruling coalition do not reject opposition MPs’ proposals out of hand. The institute interprets such steps as a move towards a consensual model in Slovak politics. “The opposition cannot complain in this sense with a single word,” Grigorij Mesežnikov, president of IVO, opined at a press conference, as reported by the SITA newswire.
IVO does not consider the government’s ambition of changing the balloting method to select a new general prosecutor from a private into a public one as a threat to democracy. “The way a high-level public official is elected is by no means a defining phenomenon of a democracy and both ways – the public and the secret vote – could be considered neutral from the point of view of the theory of democracy,” IVO states in the report.
The revision of laws passed by the previous ruling coalition is not satisfactory, according to the institute; Mesežnikov cited the Patriotism Act, the law on expropriation and the amendment to the State Language Act as examples. The institute’s Miroslav Kollár pointed to the non-standard way some laws are passed, for instance the law which created Slovak Radio and Television.
Taken generally, however, IVO noticed positive trends in the media sphere, too, such as the standardising of the Press Code. IVO’s Martin Bútora said he sees a positive change in the style of communication between Slovakia and Hungary. IVO observed the biggest improvement in the sphere of legislation, where it said the situation had returned to normal. Mesežnikov praised the fact that the new government has passed only two laws using accelerated proceedings. The mark awarded in this field thus improved from 3.25 to 2.5.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
20. Jan 2011 at 14:00