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SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

99 percent

COKE in Slovakia is less sweet, cars are smaller, sockets wider, and gas much more expensive than in America. So yes, concepts and products do tend to change on their way over the ocean.

COKE in Slovakia is less sweet, cars are smaller, sockets wider, and gas much more expensive than in America. So yes, concepts and products do tend to change on their way over the ocean.

But the content of the “We are the 99 percent” slogan has been transformed beyond recognition. The 99 Percent party, which gained a surprising 4.6 percent in the latest opinion poll, claims it represents the interests of the majority and fights the privileges of “the chosen ones” (vyvolenci). In fact, their campaign proves the opposite.

First of all, it must cost an insane amount of money. The country has been covered by the movement’s billboards for weeks, and the price of TV ads, which flood the broadcasts of both major private stations, must be in the millions of euros. And no one will ever find out where the money came from – the bills are officially paid by an NGO, with no obligation to show its accounting.

Which brings us to the second reason why the party’s candidates look more like arrogant “vyvolenci” than representatives of the masses. Both the broadcasting of political ads outside the official campaign period, which has not started yet, and support for political parties and campaigns through NGOs is forbidden under Slovak law. But the party ignores the legislation, and obviously gives the broadcasters enough cash to make any sanctions worth the risk.

If you add the fact that there is no unique “Occupy” movement in Slovakia, and that the candidates are a random mix of little known “personalities”, many of them coming from the upper classes, with little or no previous involvement in public life, the picture is complete. The Slovak version is 99 percent different from the original movement.

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