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IVO: Quality of democracy slipped to 2.9 grade in first half of 2013

The quality of democracy in Slovakia was given a grade of 2.9 in the first half of this year, amounting to a year-on-year drop of 0.1 percentage point, according to the IVO Barometer survey carried out by the Public Affairs Institute (IVO). The survey, released Monday, July 22 periodically assesses the quality of democracy in Slovakia in selected key spheres, with 1 being the best grade and 5 the worst.

The quality of democracy in Slovakia was given a grade of 2.9 in the first half of this year, amounting to a year-on-year drop of 0.1 percentage point, according to the IVO Barometer survey carried out by the Public Affairs Institute (IVO). The survey, released Monday, July 22 periodically assesses the quality of democracy in Slovakia in selected key spheres, with 1 being the best grade and 5 the worst.

Human and minority rights fared the worst in the survey, receiving a 3.1, outperformed by independent media with 3, democratic institutions and the rule of law, both with 2.9, and legislation, which was given 2.6. IVO has been assessing democracy in Slovakia since 2008, the TASR newswire wrote. The worst overall grade, 3.4, was given three times in a row over the course of 2009-10, whereas the best grade, 2.6, was seen in 2008 and 2011.

The experts who prepare the IVO Barometer assessment announced that in the first quarter of 2013, the overall rating did not worsen when measured in points. “However, in Q2 we recorded a decline in the evaluation of democracy’s quality against the previous quarter,” head of the project Miroslav Kollár told TASR. “This was caused by a regression in two out of a total of four spheres observed in which experts lowered the rating by 0.25 points – Democratic Institutions and Human Rights’ Protection.”

As for the worst assessed section – protection of human and minority rights – IVO representatives explained that the fundamental problem was low enforceability of law. “In the long run, the causes are insufficient independence, excessive partisan and political burden and often also weaker professional expertise of all institutions in the rule of law - as well as low effectiveness of the mechanisms for implementing and controlling, which inevitably results in the rate of enforceability of human rights,” Kollár concluded.

He added that what also affected the rating in this period were continued indirect attacks on freedom of speech in the form of criminal and civil lawsuits of constitutional officials against several media, initiated on the basis of protecting human dignity and honour and requiring compensation that could cause bankruptcy.

Kollár also pointed to the “unprecedented stance” of MPs towards the report of ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová on the activities of her office: they ordered her to redo the report.

In the sphere of democratic institutions and the rule of law, the situation with regard to observance of divisions of power worsened, particularly in applying constitutional methods when selecting and appointing top state representatives, or securing the procedural independence of prosecution bodies. Kollár stressed that the ruling Smer party’s dominant means of pushing through decisions is its main political tool in governing the country.

In legislation the IVO positively assesses the fact that the share of laws and amendments passed in fast-track proceedings declined, but stressed that the crucial amendment on the organisation and operation of the Constitutional Court was approved in this way. On the other hand, the IVO praised that several changes to draft bills and amendments proposed by the opposition parties were accepted.

(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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