The quality of democracy in Slovakia improved by 0.2 points in the first half 2011 when compared to the final quarter of 2010, the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) announced at a press conference on Tuesday, July 19.
The IVO Barometer gave democracy in Slovakia a mark of 2.6, the same level as the first such IVO survey, released in early 2008. The evaluation scale is 1-5, with a mark of 1 representing the best result. According to IVO president Grigorij Mesežnikov, Slovakia is continuing to stabilise democracy, with improvements recorded in most spheres in 2011. "We've improved in three spheres - democratic institutions and a law-based state, legislation, and independent media," said Mesežnikov, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
No improvement was recorded in the sphere of human and minority rights. This was due to the "balancing" of certain positive tendencies with difficulties in resolving the problems of the Roma and non-heterosexual minorities, Mesežnikov said. Meanwhile, the quality of democracy in the sphere of a law-based state was marked by power struggles, such as in the general prosecutor elections, with the Constitutional Court releasing opinions that Mesežnikov described as "problematic at the very least". He also criticised President Ivan Gašparovič's refusal to appoint Jozef Čentéš as general prosecutor, despite Čentéš’ selection by MPs. The IVO president also pointed to tension in the judiciary, with the reform efforts of Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská meeting resistance from the Supreme Court, the Judicial Council, and the chairman of the two bodies, Štefan Harabin, in particular.
As far as the media is concerned, relations between the political elites and the media have become more professional, IVO concluded. Slovakia did well in the sphere of foreign policy, including in its dialogue with Hungary, even though the government is being criticised for this by the opposition, said IVO analyst Martin Bútora. The IVO Barometer evaluates the state of democracy in Slovakia in five key spheres: democratic institutions and a law-based state; legislation; protection of human and minority rights; independent media; and foreign policy in terms of European integration and trans-Atlantic co-operation.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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20. Jul 2011 at 10:00