Marian Kotleba, chair of the far-right People’s Party – Our Slovakia (ĽSNS), would not have returned to his Banská Bystrica Region’s governor post if an election had taken place the previous weekend. He would have been defeated by Ján Lunter, independent candidate and owner of a health food factory.
This stems from a poll carried out by the Focus agency between July 31 and August 10 on 1,033 respondents older than 18 years of age.
Kotleba has not announced yet whether he will run for re-election. The official deadline for submitting candidacies is September 5, the Sme daily reported.
The poll was ordered by another candidate for the governor’s post in the Banská Bystrica Region, Martin Juhaniak. The pollster gave the respondents the names of the candidates and asked them whom they would vote for.
Lunter received altogether 21.8 percent of the vote, while Kotleba came second with 21.1 percent. Third was Martin Klus, candidate of the opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party with 14.4 percent of the votes.
The preferences were counted from the 57.8 percent turnout. As much as 32.6 percent of respondents said they did not know whom to vote for, while 9.6 percent said they will not vote at all, Sme wrote.
Allegations of Manipulation
The Focus poll is being currently scrutinised by the Slovak Association of Polling Agencies, following the motion submitted by Klus. He published the alleged conversation between one of the interviewers with his friend, whom the former allegedly manipulated, on his social network profile.
Focus, however, denies any manipulation and asked Klus for the phone number of the respondent.
“If Mr Klus gives us the number, we will check the incident,” head of Focus, Martin Slosiarik, told Sme.
The pollster also plans to ask a lawyer to check Klus’ status as they consider it a deliberate attempt to damage their reputation, Slosiarik added.
Similar polls are important for the Banská Bystrica Region since three of the candidates, Klus, Lunter and SNP Museum’s head Stanislav Mičev, had agreed that they would join forces against Kotleba. They are ready to support the person whom the polls show as the strongest rival against the ĽSNS head, Sme wrote.