Date for general election set

Several changes will be applied to the eighth parliamentary election in the era of independent Slovakia.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

The eighth general election since Slovakia became an independent country will be held on Saturday, February 29, 2020.

The date was announced by Speaker of Parliament Andrej Danko in a Facebook video.

The official political campaign starts on November 5, 2019.

What you need to know

On general election day polling stations will be open 7:00 - 22:00.

Ballots can be cast by Slovak citizens only, who are 18 or older on election day. It is possible to vote in a polling station different from the one assigned to voters based on their permanent residence, but it is necessary to ask for an absentee ballot.

Unlike the other types of elections, it is possible to vote in the parliamentary elections from abroad, but only by mail. Slovak citizens with a permanent residence abroad and voters with a permanent residence in Slovakia who will be abroad on the election date can vote by mail. The former have to send an application via mail or email to the Interior Ministry, while the latter have to send it to the municipal authority.

All applications need to be delivered by January 10, 2020. The voters should receive the ballot with instructions on how to vote by January 25.

As for the absentee ballot, voters have until February 10, the SITA newswire reported.

Campaigning with changes

Several changes have come into force since the last general election in 2016.

Parties that want to run in the 2020 general election have to submit their slates with a maximum of 150 candidates by December 1. Candidates must be older than 21 years to run.

Under the new rules, the parties have to prove they have enough members and functional party bodies. This means there must be twice as many members as the number of candidates on the slate or they need to have at least 45 members who, at the same time, are the delegates of the party council.

Some changes concern the financing of the election campaign. Parties are allowed to spend no more than €3 million, including VAT, on their campaigns, which must end 48 hours before the polling stations open. The sum also includes the money spent on promotional materials 180 days before the election day was announced (i.e. from May 8, 2019), the Denník N daily reported.

All parties are required to have a transparent account where the expenses can be checked by the public.

Moreover, the parties cannot request changing their names as the election date has been officially set.

Another big change concerns the moratorium for pre-election polls. The parliament has recently approved an amendment that lengthens the period from 14 to 50 days. If it comes into force, the moratorium will start on January 10, 2020.

However, the change still awaits the signature of President Zuzana Čaputová, who is unlikely to sign it. Moreover, several parties are ready to challenge the amendment at the Constitutional Court.​​​​​​

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