Court finds mayor guilty of vote-buying - the first case of its kind in Slovakia

Mayor of Gemerská Poloma Miroslav Michalka was offering alcohol, coffee and chocolate for votes from local Roma.

Mayor of Gemerská Poloma Miroslav Michalka.Mayor of Gemerská Poloma Miroslav Michalka. (Source: Sme)

One year behind bars, a fine of €300 and a five-year ban on running for public office, was the sentence the Specialized Criminal Court imposed on Miroslav Michalka, the Mayor of Gemerská Poloma in the Rožňava District.

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Michalka, was found guilty of trying to buy the votes of the local Roma community in exchange for alcohol, coffee and chocolate through local Roma, Matej Kučerák, before the local elections in 2014, according to the criminal complaint.

Read also: Vote-buying scandal lands village mayor in court Read more 

Both were accused by a member of the municipal council, Stanislav Kučerák, Matej's brother.

“I was participating in this corruption and I am willing to accept punishment for that,” Stanislav Kučerák told The Slovak Spectator in May 2017. “However, we cannot allow mayors to buy Roma votes for coffee and chocolate.”

The court, despite the contradicting testimonies of the witnesses, pronounced Michalka guilty.

Read also: One step forward, two steps back Read more 

He is the first mayor convicted of buying votes in Slovakia. The ruling is not yet valid and the mayor has appealed.

The Court also sentenced Matej Kučerák to one year and imposed a fine of €160. Matej Kučerák did not comment on the judgment.

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