What Saturday’s referendum result says about Slovakia

Ruling politicians are choosing to ignore the warning signs.

A man votes in the 2023 referendum in the eastern-Slovak town of Trebišov. A man votes in the 2023 referendum in the eastern-Slovak town of Trebišov. (Source: TASR)

Welcome to your weekly commentary and overview of news from Slovakia. The country is closer to a snap election despite the failed referendum. President Čaputová says she is tired but she retains hope that things can change for the better. And an American actor’s efforts to gain Slovak citizenship.

SkryťTurn off ads
Article continues after video advertisement
SkryťTurn off ads
Article continues after video advertisement

The referendum was invalid, but should not be inconsequential

When New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said last week that she would shortly step down from her top government post because she “no longer had enough in the tank”, we in Slovakia could only hope that our ruling politicians were watching, and listening.

SkryťTurn off ads

But even if they were, they did not let it show. On Sunday evening, the former ruling coalition leaders (of OĽaNO, SaS and Za Ľudí) met at the Government Office to agree that a snap election should take place on September 30, and that parliament will take the necessary steps this week to make it happen.

It is still being called an early, or ‘snap’ election even though it will likely take place nearly 10 months after parliament voted out the government of Eduard Heger, and only five months before the current term is due to end anyway. It turns out that Jacinda Ardern’s example is not the only thing they are opting to ignore: they are also choosing to disregard – or wilfully misinterpret – the result of the referendum that took place in Slovakia just this Saturday.

SkryťTurn off ads

The referendum, initiated by opposition parties Smer, Hlas and Republika, brought just 27.25 percent of all eligible voters in Slovakia to the polling stations, the vast majority of whom answered ‘yes’ to the question formulated by Smer. That asked, in effect, if a vote by parliament or a referendum should be enough to trigger a general election. Since a popular turnout of at least 50 percent is required for a referendum to be valid, this vote failed – but it is not irrelevant, and should not be inconsequential.

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

Top stories

Vrakuňa’s citizens presented apples washed in water with leaked toxins at the protest in 2016.

Chemical time bomb in Bratislava’s Vrakuňa keeps ticking

The state is failing to solve leaking chemical waste dump.

31. may
Jupiter (centre) and its Galilean moons: from left Ganymede, Io, Europa and Callisto. Juice with deployed antennas and arrays is in the bottom right.

From Košice to Ganymede: Slovak engineers are leaving their mark in space

Slovaks are active participants in two ongoing space missions.

20. may
The Supreme Administrative Court in Bratislava.

Q&A: How does the new justice reform affect people's lives?

The reform also known as the new map of courts became applicable on June 1 of this year.

6. jun
SkryťClose ad