Slovak far right courts youth vote in pivotal ballot

As Slovakia prepares to vote on Saturday, thousands of young voters are expected to opt for a far-right party that many would call neo-Nazi. What gives?

(Source: SME)

Slovaks are learning to cope with election blackouts. A two-week moratorium on pre-election opinion polls means final voter intention is notoriously hard to gauge.

Despite the embargo, a “secret” poll has been lighting up social media ahead of Slovakia’s February 29 parliamentary election.

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Nicknamed the “forbidden survey”, it was crowdfunded by civic initiative 50dni.sk. (Meaning “50days”, the name is a cheeky reference to a government proposal late last year to introduce a 50-day moratorium on polls, which was scuppered by the constitutional court.)

Jointly conducted by two of Slovakia’s largest polling agencies, the survey brought no compared to the last pre-moratorium poll, which has shown ruling Smer and opposition Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) polling 16.9 and 15.5 percent respectively.

Related article Prognoses failed. What makes people vote the far-right ĽSNS? Read more 

But it is the party doggedly in third place that raises eyebrows — the far-right Kotleba - People’s Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS).

With around 10 percent of the predicted vote, the party is not only breathing down the frontrunners’ necks; it also appears to be stealing the youth vote.

A Youth Council survey from November 2019 showed that a fifth of people aged under 30 would support ĽSNS.

Youthful rebellion

For political scientist Radoslav Štefančík from the University of Economics in Bratislava, these numbers show the clout of the protest vote.

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