ON THE IDES of March Slovaks will vote to elect a replacement for President Ivan Gašparovič, whose term expires on June 15. Though the race features 14 presidential candidates, the highest number in the country’s history, opinion polls suggest that the next president will come from one of these five: Prime Minister Robert Fico, supported by the ruling Smer party; Andrej Kiska, a businessman and philanthropist; Milan Kňažko, an actor and leader of the Velvet Revolution; Radoslav Procházka, a former member of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH); and Pavol Hrušovský, backed by the opposition People’s Platform.
The first round, to be held on March 15 between 7:00 and 22:00, will give the country a winner only if one of the candidates manages to collect more than 50 percent of all the votes cast. Opinion polls published over the past two months suggest that this scenario is rather unlikely. More likely, the top two finalists, one of which looks to be Fico, will move on to a second round run-off scheduled for March 29. Whoever gets the most votes in that run-off wins.
Every Slovak citizen who reaches the age of 18 on the day of the elections can vote for the president. Voting is only possible within Slovakia’s borders.
Citizens who expect that they will not be at the place of their permanent residence on the day of the elections, but still wish to vote, can request a so-called voting certificate that they will show to the election committee at the place they want to cast their ballot.
Slovaks living abroad can attend the elections too, but only if they are in Slovakia on the day of the elections.
The election committee should mark them on the voters’ list and make a note in their passport, the law stipulates.
The official presidential campaign started on February 28 at 7:00 and will end on March 13 at 7:00 when a 48-hour pre-vote moratorium begins. Candidates are allowed to spend no more than €132,775, including VAT, during that period.
The law defines a campaign as an activity of candidates, political parties and movements, or other subjects in favour of the possible election of the candidate, including advertising in mass media, billboards, posters or other informational outlets.
Though the law prohibits any form of campaigning before its official start, many candidates began addressing voters earlier. There are no rules regulating billboards or limiting candidates’ meeting with the public.
Those candidates who think this unofficial campaigning could affect the election results can turn to the Constitutional Court, Eva Chmelová, secretary of the Central Election Committee, told the SITA newswire.
The campaign ahead of the second round, should it be necessary, will begin with the announcement of the official results of the first round and will end 48 hours before the run-off.
12. Mar 2014 at 0:00 | Spectator staff