Cabinet okays merging dates of regional and municipal elections

The proposal filed by two members of the ruling coalition will change the Constitution and the course of elections in Slovakia.

(Source: Tibor Somogyi)

The government has approved the change in the rules guiding the regional elections (to higher territorial units, or VÚC), with ministers approving the proposal sponsored by Smer and Most-Híd on January 11 to amend the Constitution and Conditions for Exercising the Franchise Act that are currently at their second reading in parliament.

Under the new legislation, regional and municipal elections are to be held on the same day as of 2022, with the coalition parties also proposing to scrap the run-off round for regional governor elections, the TASR newswire wrote. The laws operating election campaigning and political parties will also be changed. The changes were advanced to their second reading by parliament in December 2016.

Currently, municipal and regional elections are held separately, with regional elections scheduled for this year and municipal ones for 2018. The constitutional amendment should prolong the term of office for regional governors and councillors from four to five years on a one-off basis, which would put the date of the next election at 2022 along with municipal elections. After 2022, all candidates – in regions as well as in towns and villages - will be voted into office for only four-year tenures.

Read also:Regional elections closer to changes Read more 

The authors of the draft amendment argue, according to the SITA newswire, that the unification of election terms can help create the legal conditions for the regional and municipal elections to take place at the same time. “For the voters, this means they can elect the bodies on a single day, at the same place, which ultimately saves time and draws attention to the candidates and to the natural selection of those who are capable of fulfilling their ideas in office,” MPs Vladimír Faič, Martin Glváč, Tibor Glenda, Gábor Gál, Andrej Hrnčiar, Dušan Jarjabek and Martin Nemky, of various parties, reasoned, according to SITA.

Not even the two rounds of regional governors’s election, nor the joint procedure of democratic forces in them can prevent Marian Kotleba and his extremist ĽSNS from being elected, Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská (Most-Híd) said on January 11, in reaction to the proposal. As an example, she gave the election of Kotleba for governor of the Banská Bystrica region.

Žitňanská added she was neutral on the issue of abolishing or keeping the second round of the election, as she does not see it as a crucial problem, according to TASR.

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