THE QUALITY of democracy measured by the Public Affairs Institute (IVO) Barometer has taken a turn for the worse, with the 2014 evaluation seeing a year-on-year drop of 0.3 points to an overall grade of 3.2, said IVO President Grigorij Mesežnikov at a press conference on December 22, the TASR newswire reported.
The IVO Barometer grade ranges between 1.00-5.00, with 1.00 being the optimal state of democracy.
The inferior grade is due to the influence of the government on democratic institutions. According to Mesežnikov, the quality of democracy has suffered particularly due to the power practices of the governing Smer party and what he terms the “syndrome of the dictate of the majority”, manifested in the failure to pass the agenda of extraordinary parliamentary sessions and the failure to allow the opposition to carry out a supervisory role.
“No one is casting doubt over Smer’s legitimate right to promote bills that form part of the government manifesto,” said Mesežnikov, as quoted by TASR. “However, there are some untouchable mechanisms of democracy that need to be upheld regardless of who has a majority or minority.”
According to the IVO evaluation, the democracy quality index has seen stagnation in 2014. A slight improvement was recorded in the final quarter in the sphere of democratic institutions and the rule of law, namely, a rise of 0.25 points to 3.25.
“The improvement, however, came in the wake of the positive activities of the Constitutional Court senate, the president and other constitutional institutions that balanced the power deviations and excesses of other institutions, the government and parliament,” said Mesežnikov, as quoted by TASR.
On the other hand, a downgrade was seen in the legislative process, where the grade worsened from 2.75 to 3.00 due to purpose-built amendments in response to political developments.
“Even the Constitution was amended in this way,” said the IVO president, as quoted by TASR. “The approach of legislators certainly can’t be evaluated as responsible or systematic.”
No changes were recorded in human rights and the independent media, with human rights rated at 3.50 and the independent media at 3.00.
Not much is needed for democracy to improve back to its previous quality level, according to Mesežnikov.
“All it takes is the political will of the party that controls the majority of power institutions,” he said, as quoted by TASR.
Compiled by Roman Cuprik from press reports
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