Parliament okays single-round regional elections

Government wants to save money by reducing election rounds.

The assembly hall of parliamentThe assembly hall of parliament (Source: TASR)

Some months before the regional elections in November, parliament greenlighted a single-round voting system for regional governors on February 2. Parliament also passed the merging of regional and municipal election dates as of 2022.

Under the current rules, Slovak citizens and also foreigners having permanent residency in a municipality belonging to a specific self-governing region, may vote for regional governor and also regional deputies. If a candidate for governor fails to receive a majority of votes, a second round takes place to which the two most successful candidates advance.

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Coalition lawmakers, who introduced single-round elections point to practical experience.

“The runoff round turnouts are usually quite low and, therefore, elections in this case don’t really reflect the will of voters,” states the explanatory document attached to the legislation changes.

The change should also save financial resources. During regional elections in 2013, two run-off rounds took place in five regions and cost an additional €2.4 million, according to the TASR newswire.

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However, the two-round system is a protective mechanism from extremist candidates as they benefit from the votes that are spread among the strong candidates for governor in the first round, political scientist Tomáš Nociar told The Slovak Spectator back in December.

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