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Banská Bystrica: Smer run-off candidate not to debate extremist

IN THE RUN-UP to the second round of the regional governor’s election no Slovak media will broadcast a debate between the two candidates in Banská Bystrica Region.

IN THE RUN-UP to the second round of the regional governor’s election no Slovak media will broadcast a debate between the two candidates in Banská Bystrica Region.

The results of the November 9 first-round election in Banská Bystrica Region received considerable media attention since they were announced, revealing that Smer candidate Vladimír Maňka will be challenged by known far-right extremist Marian Kotleba.

The second round is to take place on Saturday, November 23.

Maňka originally said he would not debate Kotleba on any network other than the public-service RTVS, which broadcasts debates live on its main radio channel and airs them later on TV.

Kotleba however did not accept the RTVS’ conditions. He said at a press conference on November 18, the day that the debate was supposed to take place, that so far his experience with recorded debates has been negative, as the media usually inserts photographs of extremist rallies and conflicts at football stadiums.

He said he was willing to debate on the TA3 news channel, even without Maňka.

TA3 invited Kotleba onto its televised debate prior to the first election, thus provoking a wave of criticism from observers and other media.

Maňka has already launched his campaign for the second round. He visited Čierny Balog, where Kotleba had the highest support in the first round, the Sme daily reported. Kotleba received 350 people votes there, which means that almost one in two voters cast a ballot for him. When Maňka asked locals whether they think that Kotleba will resolve the Roma problem, they said they did not think so, but they argued that he at least talks about the issue.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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