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Opposition criticises draft election law

Several representatives of the opposition parties have criticised the new election laws submitted to parliament by the Interior Ministry. The drafts are drawn up in a cynical way and favour ruling parties, said MP and party caucus chair for the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) Lucia Žitňanská, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Several representatives of the opposition parties have criticised the new election laws submitted to parliament by the Interior Ministry. The drafts are drawn up in a cynical way and favour ruling parties, said MP and party caucus chair for the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) Lucia Žitňanská, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

According to the MP, the amendments include bans on many practices, impose moratoriums, prohibit campaigns carried out by civil associations and set other limitations in various areas. The whole framework will be “supervised by [Interior Minister Robert] Kaliňák and [Finance Minister Peter] Kažimír, however; and we will have to rely on them to treat a candidate nominated by Smer in the same way they would an opposition one”.

“We simply cannot rely on that,” Žitňanská said, as quoted by TASR.

She went on to say that the legislation will also affect the upcoming 2014 presidential election.

“This means that if candidates [Andrej] Kiska and [Radoslav] Procházka would need to add to their campaign expenditures the money that they have spent so far, they might not be able to continue in their campaigns before the election,” Žitňanská explained, as quoted by TASR. “Conversely, if [Prime Minister Robert] Fico and [Foreign Minister Miroslav] Lajčák happen to exceed the limit for expenditures, they will be dealt with by Kažimír. This suggests that the campaign of a Smer candidate will be a pleasant idyll.”

Žitňanská also ridiculed the way in which the bill was drafted with respect to the lack of an across-the-board discussion, saying that the ruling party failed to make good on two commitments prior to the 2012 general election.

“First, they signed a document drawn up by Transparency International Slovensko, in which they pledged to create an independent supervisory body in charge of the funding of political parties. In addition, they embraced their own commitment that the government would initiate a discussion on the electoral system. Neither of these two has materialised, however,” the MP said.

In the proposed new Election Act, Kaliňák is proposing to reintroduce a moratorium on campaigning 48 hours before the vote, while the period during which the publication of election poll results would be banned would be expanded from 14 days to 21 days.

Former interior minister Daniel Lipšic, current chair of the New Majority - Agreement movement, also criticised the laws, saying that granting the right to vote to convicts in jail for serious crimes is a slap in the face of all victims and their families, TASR reported.

“As things stand now, those that committed extremely serious crimes being subject to a minimum 10-year prison sentence cannot vote – which is right in my opinion,” Lipšic told TASR. “The most brutal murderers should not participate in the decision-making process with respect to the future of the country. This is also disrespectful to the victims of these crimes and their families.”

The official report on the legislation from the Interior Ministry states that this measure is being ushered in because of a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Lipšic opposes the claim, saying that although the verdict stipulates that any state cannot deprive all of its convicts of the right to vote, it does not mean the state has to recognise the election law for all convicts.

Source: TASR

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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