Slovakia is headed for one of the longest moratoriums on polls

Let voters decide based on programmes, say Smer and SNS MPs. They passed the law with the far right ĽSNS.

Slovak parliament, illustrative stock photoSlovak parliament, illustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

Slovakia could soon have one of the longest bans on publishing pre-election polls.

MPs of the ruling Smer and Slovak National Party (SNS), aided with votes from the caucus of the fascist People's Party - Our Slovakia (ĽSNS), passed an amendment that prolongs the moratorium on publishing pre-election polls from the current 14 to 50 days.

If President Zuzana Čaputová signs the bill into law, the changes should also apply in the upcoming 2020 elections (expected to take place on February 29).

Most opposition parties believe the law to be unconstitutional, the TASR newswire reported. They called on the president to veto the law.

It is not the first time Smer and SNS passed a law with the ĽSNS. Some observers believe their collaboration to be the basis for a possible future ruling coalition.

Smer and SNS MPs who proposed the law argued that the polls are confusing for voters, since there are too many of them. The MPs also argued that voters should be allowed to make their decision based on the programmes of the parties and the values that they represent.

The junior coalition Most-Híd did not support the ban on polls. Most-Híd chairman Béla Bugár called the law regrettable.

"I think the connection itself shows something," Bugár said as quoted by TASR.

Former Most-Híd MP, now member of the newly-emerged Dobrá Voľba party, Katarína Cséfalvayová, talks about "information darkness" and "information chaos and the overflow of few serious information sources." She suggested that Čaputová's veto might stop the law from becoming effective in time for the upcoming election.

Some political commentators have labelled the new rules the parliament passed as the introduction of censorship. President of the non-governmental Institute for Public Affairs, Grigorij Mesežnikov, considers it as depreciating the achievements of November 1989.

"It is an unprecedented scandal," Mesežnikov said as quoted by TASR. He added that the Constitutional Court will be the key player now.

The Slovak Spectator will bring a more detailed report on the changes in the moratorium on polls later this week.

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