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Elections rules to be unified

The Slovak Interior Ministry has prepared a new law intended to unify the rules for the various types of elections held in Slovakia. The legislative proposal, whose aim is also to unify terminology, was submitted for interdepartmental review at the beginning of the week, the TASR newswire reported on July 16.

The Slovak Interior Ministry has prepared a new law intended to unify the rules for the various types of elections held in Slovakia. The legislative proposal, whose aim is also to unify terminology, was submitted for interdepartmental review at the beginning of the week, the TASR newswire reported on July 16.

The new rules apply to the basic principles for voting and counting votes, and set conditions for the various types of elections, votes to dismiss the president, and referendums in which voters might be allowed to participate by mail in order to increase turnout. The changes also include a new duty for members of election committees to report the number of men and women participating in elections, TASR wrote.

Voter lists should now include information about foreigners with permanent residence in Slovakia, thereby allowing them to vote, the Interior Ministry explained, as reported by TASR.

Those who violate the law will be fined up to €1,000.

Moreover, the law should also change the status of people participating in elections from “voters” to “persons eligible to vote”, TASR wrote.

The measures will not change the age at which people receive the right to vote, or the list of people who cannot participate in elections, such as prisoners serving sentences for serious crimes or people who have lost the right to legally decide on their own affairs, TASR wrote.

According to the Interior Ministry, the state will save up to €219,232 in 2014 and another €1,105,232 in 2016 thanks to the changes, TASR wrote.

If passed by parliament and approved by the president, the changes will come into force as of January 1, 2014.

The new law will not apply to the rules on election campaigns, which will be the subject of another law, also prepared by the Interior Ministry. The new law, already submitted for the interdepartmental discussion, should impose financial limits for financing of election campaigns, including money spent before its official beginning, and a 48-hour moratorium which is currently not applied during parliamentary elections, the Sme daily wrote on July 17.

The spending limit on political parties will be set at €3 million, while people running for the presidency will not be allowed to spend more than €500,000. Similar restrictions should also apply to independent candidates for mayors, TASR reported.

Political parties and movements will also have to finance their campaigns from money deposited in separate accounts, which will have a detailed list of transactions available to third parties. Moreover, the parties will have to publish not only the amount they plan to spend, but also the list of all expenses used during the campaigns. In addition to this, the parties will have to publish the list of people who have contributed amounts higher than the minimum wage on their website or in the daily press every year by January 31, TASR wrote.

Gabriel Šípoš, head of the ethics watchdog Transparency International Slovensko, praised the measure regarding separate accounts, but warned against imposing financial limits on campaigns and a moratorium. Moreover, he said that the proposal lacks an independent supervisory body for the financing of political parties, as reported by Sme.

Sources: TASR, Sme

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

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