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Interior Ministry investigates 'falsified' 99% signatures; party alleges manipulation

The Interior Ministry is looking into the case of falsified signatures that allegedly appear on the original registration petition of the 99 Percent – People's Voice party, but the Office of the General Prosecutor will not provide any comment on the matter at this time, office spokesperson Vladimíra Gedrová said on Thursday, March 1, as reported by the TASR newswire.

The Interior Ministry is looking into the case of falsified signatures that allegedly appear on the original registration petition of the 99 Percent – People's Voice party, but the Office of the General Prosecutor will not provide any comment on the matter at this time, office spokesperson Vladimíra Gedrová said on Thursday, March 1, as reported by the TASR newswire.

Asked whether the acting general prosecutor, Ladislav Tichý, has considered approaching the Supreme Court in order to ask for 99 Percent to be dissolved, Gedrová said that it is too early to comment on this.

Police President Jaroslav Spišiak said on Wednesday, February 29, that all 15,000 of the signatures submitted by the party would be verified after an initial check revealed that more than 200 entries contained false data. He refused to go into further detail about the ongoing verification process, saying that the police had subjected approximately 70 percent of the signatures to scrutiny so far. The police took action based on a complaint received on February 13 from one of the signature collectors, who described the practices used to obtain the signatures.

99 Percent – Civic Voice on Thursday filed a complaint at the Office of the General Prosecutor claiming that somebody must have manipulated the party’s petition sheets supporting its registration after the documents were presented to the Interior Ministry. "We’ve arrived at the only possible conclusion – that our sheets must have been manipulated [after they were presented to the Interior Ministry]. If the signatures were in order on December 6, 2011, and the party was registered without any problems, what happened to the signatures at the ministry and what happened to the signatures that were submitted to the police based on a political motive?" asked party sponsor Ivan Weiss in reference to a criminal complaint concerning the signatures' authenticity submitted by the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) youth organisation New Generation. Weiss believes that the move has been motivated by the party’s expected success in the March 10 election, as indicated by recent public opinion polls. He further accused the police of exerting ‘indirect pressure’ on signatories to tell officers that they didn’t sign the petition, even though they actually did.

10,000 signatures of support are legally required to register a party in Slovakia; 99 Percent – Civic Voice submitted a petition containing some 15,000.

After the registration of any political party is completed successfully, the modus operandi for the Interior Ministry is always to put the petition sheets under lock and key, ministry spokesman Gábor Grendel said in reaction to the party's statements. He said the Interior Ministry always verifies whether or not data stated on petition sheets are complete prior to any registration. Step two is to select approximately 100 names in a random fashion and verify the authenticity of the data involved. "That means whether or not numbers in documents and addresses correspond with data featured in the Citizens' Register. If any shortcomings are detected, the case is forwarded to police authorities," Grendel said, as quoted by TASR.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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