Parties reveal their slates

NO BIG surprises – this is how political scientists evaluate the slates submitted by political parties which will run in the upcoming 2016 general election.

The main chamber of the Slovak parliament.The main chamber of the Slovak parliament. (Source: TASR)

Altogether 22 political parties and movements and one coalition submitted their slate and paid the €17,000 deposit by December 6 at midnight, which is the second highest number of parties that will run in the parliamentary elections since independent Slovakia was established. In the last 2012 elections, the number was higher, with 26 political subjects being registered.

“The slates have not surprised me much,” political analyst Grigorij Mesežnikov of the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) told The Slovak Spectator when commenting on the nominated candidates, adding that the already established parties prefer the time-proven politicians.

Though some new names may appear in recently established movements, even these are not completely unknown since they have already been mentioned in the media, Mesežnikov added.

Read also:In general election, 22 parties and one coalition shall run Read more 

Current ministers lead Smer slate

Political analysts agree that the ruling Smer party belongs to those that give the highest places on their slates to time-proven politicians, and the slate for upcoming elections is no exception. It is led by Prime Minister Robert Fico, followed by Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, Speaker of Parliament Peter Pellegrini, Finance Minister Peter Kažimír, Culture Minister Marek Maďarič, and Environment Minister Peter Žiga.

Comprising the top places of the slate is also Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák, Košice Mayor Richard Raši, Labour Minister Ján Richter, Žilina Self-Governing Region’s Governor Juraj Blanár and Defence Minister Martin Glváč.

The slate, however, does not feature the names of year-long Smer politicians, including former speaker of parliament Pavol Paška and ex-deputy parliamentary speaker Renáta Zmajkovičová, who both resigned from their posts after the scandal of the overpriced CT device bought by the Piešťany hospital. Activists and non-governmental organisations held several protests against corruption practices in the end of 2014, attended by thousands of people.

“There was a fear that the preferences would drop, and they actually dropped,” Mesežnikov said, when explaining the reasons for withdrawing Paška.

According to him, with such a decision his active political career has ended.

“On the other hand, there are also people involved in some scandals whose position, however, was not endangered so much,” added political analyst Miroslav Kusý.

This includes former economy minister Pavol Pavlis who had to resign over nepotism allegations in April 2015, after just 10 months in office, or Agriculture Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek who had to explain why a disproportionately high number of people in his ministry's management positions have ties to Jahnátek’s native village of Komjatice.

There are also some new faces at high positions on the slate, including Denisa Saková from the Interior Ministry, who is responsible for the ESO reform, and Erik Tomáš, current head of the Government’s Office press department, and current State Secretary of the Justice Ministry Monika Jankovská, the Sme daily wrote.

Post-election alternatives

Fico admits two alternatives that may occur after the elections: either a two-coalition government with Smer, or a mix in the centre-right bloc. He referred to the earlier attempts of three centre-right parties, Most-Híd, the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and Sieť, to agree on cooperation ahead of the general election. They, however, failed to reach a deal.

“We’re concerned with seeing cooperation of the three parties that could provide a basis for a future stable government and would also motivate voters to go to the polls... Our alternative hasn’t gone through due to [Sieť leader Radoslav] Procházka, who has his own vision,” said Most-Híd chair Béla Bugár, as quoted by TASR.

KDH head Ján Figeľ said he expected more from the talks, which however, “hasn’t changed anything on the determination of KDH and its affiliated parties to achieve political change in Slovakia”, as reported by TASR. 

The latest MVK poll, however, indicates that Sieť, KDH and Most-Híd would get only 64 seats in the parliament. If they wanted to form a government, they would have to invite another party to a coalition, the public-service broadcaster RTVS reported.

According to Fico, if the three parties want to offer an alternative, they should present their complete vision to the public.

They will never be able to form a majority and will need SaS and OĽaNO-Nova,” the PM continued, adding they will form a new “zlepenec”, a term which he developed in response to the 2010-2012 government of five centre-right parties.

Fico failed to specify which party they would prefer to form a coalition with.

Right-wing parties come up with new names

Similarly to Smer, most of the current parliamentary centre-right parties nominated time-proven candidates, though there are also some exceptions. The Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), for example, picked several pro-life activists who were active during the preparations of the February 2015 referendum on family or the National March for Life.

“Their campaign has always been connected with KDH,” Kusý noted.

Also Most-Híd will show some new faces, including Martin Dubéci, one of the initiators of the Plea for Humanity, which is active in helping refugees. Mesežnikov considers this choice unsurprising since the party has a different opinion on migration issues than other parties. His candidacy may not endanger the position of the initiative or the opinion about it, he added.

On the other hand, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), once the leader of the opposition which formed the government twice three times , has come up with completely new faces. Many of the personalities who used to represent it in the past have left during the current tenure, Mesežnikov noted. The main motto of the party is change.

“There is, however, a question whether the argument that people who are less known to the public bring this change,” the analyst added.

Also the Sieť party led by Radoslav Procházka picked mostly people new to the politics. Up to 112 of its 150 candidates have never been members of the political party, said deputy chair of the party Katarína Cséfalvayová.

Moreover, 35 posts on the slate belong to people younger than 30, while the average age of all candidates is 39 years. The most frequent job of candidates is manager (27 candidates), followed by mayors which proves the regional character of Sieť, Cséfalvayová added, as quoted by TASR.

OĽaNO-Nova do not form coalition

Also the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO), which joined forces with the NOVA party in June 2015, introduced several new people on its slate, though they are not completely unknown to the public.

The slate is led by regional deputy Veronika Remišová, who first pointed to the dubious contract on operating a ferry on the Danube. Second is doctor Alan Suchánek who helped reveal the scandal with overpriced purchase of CT device in the Piešťany hospital. Among the first 10 candidates is also teacher Oto Žarnay, who pointed to the corruption at his school in Košice, or Anna Verešová of the Life Forum group. Also Ján Budaj, one of the faces of the Velvet Revolution, runs on the OĽaNO slate.

Despite the original plans, OĽaNO-NOVA has decided to run as a single party, and not a coalition of two parties. While in the former case the party needs to collect 5 percent of the vote, in the latter case they need at least 7 percent.

“Most of the recent opinion polls indicated they would collect less than 7 percent,” Mesežnikov said. “In such a situation it would be a risk to run in the coalition.”

The parties’ leaders, Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) and Daniel Lipšic (NOVA) however, promised to give up their mandates if they fail to receive 7 percent, as reported by Denník N.

“This statement is part of the campaign,” Kusý said, adding that they tell voters that if they want to see them in the parliament, they should come and vote.


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