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Mayors’ civil initiative starts a petition to change election rules

A civil initiative made up of independent mayors is launching a petition calling for a change in the rules used for elections to the national parliament and the European Parliament as well as the law on referendum, the SITA newswire reported.

A civil initiative made up of independent mayors is launching a petition calling for a change in the rules used for elections to the national parliament and the European Parliament as well as the law on referendum, the SITA newswire reported.

"We want our citizens to be able to vote so that they would choose candidates from all over the political spectrum with their preferential votes (i.e. regardless of ranking on party slates). A list of independent candidates could be used together with party lists which would enable the citizens to really freely choose and to decide to whom they will give their vote," said Prievidza Mayor Katarína Macháčková, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

She said that although the constitution clearly stipulates equal chance to an elected office, the reality is different. "Political parties’ lists are compiled by their chairpersons. A place on the list is acquired due to how loyal the member can be to the party, or what relationship they have with the chairperson; not on the basis of their human or expert qualities," Macháčková stated.

The independent mayors of Banská Bystrica, Martin and Prievidza (Peter Gogola, Andrej Hrnčiar and Macháčková, respectively) dislike the current legislation and have started collecting signatures on a petition requiring a referendum that would change the current system. Other mayors are likely to join them, the Sme daily wrote in its August 31 issue. The initiative needs 100,000 signatures in order for parliament to deal with it and an additional 250,000 signatures for a referendum to be organized.

MP Igor Matovič also announced that he would like to initiate an amendment in parliament on this issue. Political analyst Martin Klus estimated, according to Sme, that taking into consideration the most recent elections, candidates would need 15,000 to 25,000 votes to get a parliamentary seat. Neither the coalition nor opposition parties appear to support any fundamental change of electoral system, Sme wrote.

Source: SITA, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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