Regional elections closer to changes

Coalition MPs propose a one-round vote which will also save money.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

Several coalition MPs would like to change the current system governing the regional elections and change them from two-rounds to a one-round vote. Moreover, they would like to hold them on the same day as the municipal elections.

The proposals are part of the amendment to the constitution and to the election laws, which parliament advanced to the second reading on December 6, also thanks to the support of the far-right People’s Party – Our Slovakia (ĽSNS). To pass a constitutional amendment, 90 votes are necessary.

The amendment seeks an extension of the election term for the higher territorial units’ bodies to five years on a one time basis. This would concern those scheduled for 2017 and would enable the regional and municipal elections to be held on the same day in 2022, the SITA newswire reported.

After the 2022 election, the tenure of regional governors would revert to four years again.

“For voters it means that they will elect the bodies on the same day, at the same place, which will in the end not only save time, but also raise attention towards candidates and the natural selection of those who are capable of fulfilling their ideas about the respective bodies,” said MPs Vladimír Faič, Martin Glváč, Tibor Glenda, Gábor Gál, Andrej Hrnčiar, Dušan Jarjabek and Martin Nemky, who submitted the new law, as quoted by SITA.

The change would mean that candidates would be able to envision more creative programmes and the selection of candidates for individual posts would be improved, they added.

As for the one-round election, the proposers of the amendment are of the opinion that in practice, more voters attend the first round of the regional elections as they pick not only the regional governor but also the regional deputies.

“The turnout in the second round is very low, so these elections do not actually reflect the will of voters,” the MPs continued, as quoted by SITA, adding that the state allocates a great deal of money to the second round.

They also point out that the one-round rule is used in the municipal elections when mayors are elected and that the status of the mayors of big regional capitals is comparable with that of regional governors, SITA reported.

Moreover, if there was only one round of regional elections, the state would save the money.

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