VOTERS in Slovakia’s eight self-governing regions will elect regional governors and members of the country’s regional parliaments for the next four years. The polls opened at 7:00 and will close at 22:00.
According to the Statistical Office, 2,571 candidates are running for a total of 408 seats in the eight regional parliaments, with some large regional differences in the numbers. While in Trnava Region there are only 190 candidates for regional deputies’ seats, in Prešov the number exceeds 450.
Citizens will also elect the presidents – sometimes known as governors – of the eight self-governing regions, known under the Slovak acronym VÚC. There are 65 candidates bidding for these posts, the most powerful in regional politics in Slovakia.
It is expected that in most regions the gubernatorial elections will be held in two rounds, as winning candidates must receive at least 50 percent of the votes cast by citizens. If no candidate surpasses that threshold in the first round, the two candidates with the highest number of votes in the first round will compete in a run-off, held on November 23.
VÚCs handle more than €1 billion in state funds each year and have decision-making powers in education, social services and public transport, and oversee the maintenance of lower category roads, while coordinating inter-regional and cross-border cooperation and tourism.
The VÚCs are funded by taxes paid directly to the regions, including personal income and motor vehicle taxes as well as through grants from central government ministries and European structural funds.
Observers estimate a turnout of about 25 percent, slightly higher than during the previous regional elections in 2009.
The election campaign for regional elections ceased on November 7 at 7:00 and the moratorium lasts until the polls close. During the moratorium any form of campaigning is prohibited.
The first preliminary results will be published on the website of the Statistics Office (www.statistics.sk) or at www.volbysr.sk shortly after 22:00.
Foreigners with permanent residence in Slovakia are also eligible to vote in the regional elections in their respective districts. The Interior Ministry currently registered 56,562 foreigners as of November 2, the SITA newswire wrote.
There are no voter certificates for these elections, which means that voters can cast their vote only in the polls located in the place of their residence. Moreover, Slovaks staying abroad on election day will not be able to vote.
The Interior Ministry has also set up a hotline where people can receive information about elections, : +421 (0)2 5094-2312 or +421 (0)2 4859-2312.
Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports
9. Nov 2013 at 7:00