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Slovak Republic - Political Parties

Party 2006201020122016
Smer29,1 %34,8 %44,41 %28.28%
SaS 12,1 %5,88 %12.10%
OLaNO8,56 %11.02%
SNS11,7 %5,1 %-8.64%
People's Party - Our Slovakia---8.04%
Most-Hd8,1 %6,89 %6.50%
Sme Rodina---6.62%
KDH8,3 %8,5 %8,82 %-
SDK-DS18,4 %15,4 %6,09 %-
SMK11,7 %---
HZDS8,8 %---

Slovak politics is more a competition of personalities than ideas, and the leading parties are pragmatic, not ideological. In the Slovak Republic, there is a standard system of political parties; it can be characterised from a theoretical point of view as a plural multipartism. This means that the parties system is typical for the existence of several political parties that continually compete to acquire power or a share of power.

Elections are conducted on the basis of a universal, equal and direct electoral franchise, by means of secret ballot, and in accordance with the principle of proportional representation. Candidates for Parliamentary office must be citizens of the Slovak Republic, at least twenty-one years of age and eligible to vote on polling day, with permanent residence in the Slovak Republic. Judges, prosecutors, public defenders of rights, members of the Armed Forces, members of Armed Corps, or members of the European Parliament may not run for parliament. The territory of the Slovak Republic constitutes a single electoral constituency.

Elections are held over the course of one day. Citizens over the age of 18 may cast votes outside their city of residence with prior notice, or by post from outside Slovakia. Citizens choose from lists of candidates submitted by registered political parties. These lists, not to exceed 150 names each, are submitted to the Central Electoral Commission at least ninety days before polling day.

Officially, the campaign begins 21 days before polling day when broadcasting of (explicitly) political advertisements may begin. Slovak public television and Slovak Radio are obligated to set aside no more than ten hours of broadcasting time for political advertisements, which shall be allocated to competing parties with no single party receiving more than thirty minutes. A further ten hours of broadcasting time is to be set aside by the public media for discussion programs. Licensed commercial broadcasters are not obligated to carry political advertisements, but if they choose to do so are subject to the same maximum limits of thirty minutes per party and ten hours total. Election campaigns and advertising can continue through election day; however, poll results must not be published after the polls open. Parties have no limits on how much they can spend on their campaigns.

By 2010 approximately 45 political parties were registered in the Slovak Republic, but less then 10 participate in the execution of practical policy. There was a period, when more than 100 political parties were registered at the Slovak Ministry of Interior, but most of them do not carry out any activities and they are gradually disappearing from the political scene.

SMER (Smer socilna demokracia = Direction Social Democracy), was established in December 1999, due to dissatisfaction with the existing situation, the distribution of powers, as well as with the policy of existing coalition and opposition. It is clearly a left-wing political party. Contrary to other newly established parties, this party succeeded in improving its position, Headed by Robert Fico, SMER consistently polled in the 30 to 34 percent range throughout 2006. In 2002, SMER was polling in the 20-25 percent range but dropped sharply in the last month before election day and finally gained just 13.46 percent of valid votes cast. Some observers predicted a similar scenario in 2006, although the party appeared better organized, has presented a more moderate image and has been more willing to leave its options open regarding future partners.

Most observers expected it to do considerably better than in 2002, but not to reach its current polling percentage. SMER would consider 25 percent or better to be a victory. In fact, SMER, as an unambiguous winner of the election, acquired 1/3 of the deputies mandates and became the most powerful parliamentary party and an absolute dominant political subject of the governmental coalition that was created together with the SNS and the HZDS.

Siet (The Network) - Unsuccessful presidential candidate and independent MP Radoslav Prochzka presented his new party, called Siet (The Network), in Preov on 25 April 2005. Prochzka explained the meaning of the new partys name: "A network as a community of determined and skilled people from all corners of Slovakia who want to support these regions by their active involvement and by paying attention to their needs. The network should be a solid community," said Prochzka. The name Network also reflects the internal structure of the new party, which will be based in 28 local headquarters, located in the 12 largest towns, plus 16 natural Slovak regions. Prochzka declined to say whether his party will be a typical right-wing party, saying he does not know who represents a traditional rightist party in Slovakia nowadays. The new party is designed to be a counterweight to the governing Smer.

Peoples Party-Our Slovakia (LSNS) The best performance of the March 2016 election came from Marian Kotlebas Peoples Party-Our Slovakia (LSNS) which took 8.1 percent of the vote. That performance saw a borderline Nazi party enter parliament for the first time since World War II.The party openly admires the Nazi puppet state that the country was during World War II. Party members use Nazi salutes, blame Roma for crime in deprived areas, consider NATO a terror group and want the country out of the alliance and the European Union.

Voters are drawn to leaders who tell it like it is because they have grown used to politicians saying nothing at all. Immediately after Marian Kotleba was elected for Bansk Bystrica regional governor in December 2013, and after the outrage of most people dispersed, media partially ignored, partially noticed his slips. Kotleba is angry and believes the system is geared toward screwing him over. He is mad as hell and is not going to take it anymore. Media cannot ignore Kotleba and his people, but their ideology and opinions are toxic, totalitarian and against the democratic establishment in which we live, media have to treat them very cautiously, Mat Kostoln, chief editor of Dennk N daily, told Sme on 24 March 2016.

A group of anti-fascist activists submitted a proposal to dissolve far-right Peoples Party Our Slovakia (LSNS) The fact remains, however, that since its representatives were elected to the parliament, they will keep their mandates as the Slovak legislation does not define what to do in such a situation. The Supreme Court would subsequently decide on the matter. It already dissolved one party in 2006: the Slovak Togetherness Our Party which was led by current chair of LSNS Marian Kotleba.

By June 2016 the extremist Peoples Party-Our Slovakia (LSNS) wanted to use around 5 million in state subsidies it received as a parliamentary party for military training that could see marches by uniformed participants through Roma settlements. The party reached 8 percent of votes in the March 5 general election, thus it automatically receives money for each vote and for every seat in parliament, leading to a grand total of 5.2 million. Kotleba told the press few days after elections that he wants to use it to build a militia protecting people in places where the police fail to do so.

On 29 Apri 2019 Slovakia's Supreme Court dismissed a request by the country's prosecutor general to ban a far-right party that has 14 seats in the country's parliament. The court ruled the prosecutor general failed to provide enough evidence for the ban. The verdict is final.

Sme Rodina (We Are Family) Well known businessman, owner of Fun Radio Boris Kollar became the newest face of Slovak politics. Kollar bought Fun Radio in 1999. In March 2010 parliamentary elections decided to run for the Union Party - Party for Slovakia, which brought together several non-parliamentary parties.

Boris Kollr, founder of Sme Rodina party, said before the 2016 election that he did not want to be part of rightist government, while it may support it in the parliament at the most. Thus, the rightist government would depend on his party, which will hold 11 seats in the parliament, as without his support it would fail to push through anything in the parliament. With support of Sme Rodina (We Are Family) of Boris Kollr they would have 87 votes. Without it 76 votes. After the election, therwe were talks that moved one step forward in the formation of the government wide right coalition.

KDH (Krestansko-demokratick hnutie = Christian Democratic Movement), which polled around 9.5 percent in 2006, pulled out of the GOS coalition in February 2006, but would be willing to continue in some way with its former coalition partners. It strictly rejects cooperation with Meciar, but not with his party, HZDS. Some of its most prominent members did not want the party to join a SMER-led coalition but political realities would keep this option open.

OLaNO (Obycajn ludia a nezvisl osobnosti = Ordinary People and Independent Personalities) , the most recent newcomer entering the Slovak Parliament in the 2012 elections, offered the most vocal example of a rejection of the whole party system. The name is indicative: a fresh, new blood, new breed of politicians, appealing in particular to the protest electorate and to disenchanted voters. One even hesitates to call it a party because it is precisely the parties that have become a subject of OLaNOs fierce attacks: We dont pretend to be a political party () We dont intend to emulate political parties; we aim to mock them () Big parties are one like another; they are all thieves said its leader Igor Matovic. According to OLaNO, political nominations in government institutions and state-run enterprises should stop, as they are the cancer of the politicalsystem; all candidates running in elections should be subject to lie detector tests. The OLaNO did not present itself as a coherent programmatic alternative. In fact, it was hardly possible.

Most-Hd (= Bridge in Slovak and in Hungarian) offered the promise clearly stated by its very name. The Bridge wanted to become a party of Slovak-Hungarian cooperation. In this respect, Bla Bugrs decision to define his party as one of Slovak-Hungarian collaboration rather than as a new representative of Slovakias Hungarians proved wise, for it also appealed to many Slovaks fatigued by years of manufactured tensions who trust Bugrs established image of civility and politeness.40 Thus the Most-Hd party, writes Grigorij Mesežnikov in his chapter, profiles itself as an alternative especially in the field of the minority and/or ethnic agenda: Its leaders portrayed Most-Hd as a party of Slovak-Hungarian understanding that was open to all citizens.

The second government partner 2016 was Most-Hd, the Slovak-Hungarian party. It is seen as a great paradox that SNS and Most-Hd will sit in the same cabinet given the track-record of SNS blaming the Slovak Hungarian minority of the lack of loyalty towards the state. Most-Hd is a centre-right member of the EPP, with a liberal touch. Within the Slovak political landscape it is perceived as being pro-European and mobilising soft rhetoric against refugees, which thanks to Smer-SD and its hard-line positions has been a hot-button topic of the election campaign, even though there are hardly any refugees in Slovakia. Most-Hd managed to get the ministry of justice portfolio, which will be led by Lucia Žitnansk, who is believed to be tough on corruption, although many were sceptical how autonomous she would be able to act.

SDKU (Slovensk demokratick a krestansk nia demokratick strana = Slovak Democratic and Christian Union Democratic Party) is surely a center-rightwing political subject with a significant focus on the values of liberalism and Christian democracy. It was an initiative of democratically oriented political forces focused on the creation of strong and competitive political subject with the purpose of prevailing in the elections of 1998. In 2002, the Democratic Party (the DS) was included and at the same time, the name of SDK was modified to SDK-DS. The SDKU of PM Mikulas Dzurinda was polling between 9 and 11 percent in 2006 and was running on its record of reform. SDKU was the party expected to gain most from a low voter turnout and the tendency of many Slovaks to make up their mind in the voting booth. In 2002 SDKU surprised most observers by coming out with 15.1 percent of valid votes cast despite months of polls that put its support in the 10 percent range. SDKU's natural coalition partners are SMK and KDH, although the personal animosity between the leaders of SDKU and KDH resulting from the collapse of the government in February would have to be gently finessed. Extraordinary Congress ODS January 21, 2006 in order to join the right-wing political forces decided to merge with the Democratic Party ODS. New name became party SDKU.

SaS (= Sloboda a Solidarita = Freedom and Solidarity) passed the sustainability test by being elected into the Slovak parliament in two consecutive elections (2010 and 2012), profiled itself as a socially liberal and economically neo-liberal grouping. SaS wanted to be a political and socioeconomic alternative, especially to the ruling party Smer-Social Democracy. SaS leaders portrayed themselves as professionals and emphasized that their party was the only truly new political formation that did not continue the legacy of any other party previously operating in Slovakia and was not a product of existing parties disintegration.

HZDS (Movement for a Democratic Slovakia), led by former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, received the highest percentage of valid votes cast in 2002, 19.5 percent. In 2006 HZDS consistently polled in the second or third position, with 10 - 11.5 percent support, and that support stabilized over the year. After being shut out of the previous government, Meciar tried to sound like a middle-of-the road politician in order that the other major parties will view HZDS as an acceptable coalition partner. Meciar seems most inclined to work with the current ruling coalition parties (SDKU and SMK) and KDH, although HZDS only ruled out cooperation with the Communist Party of Slovakia (KSS). In 2006 the HZDS the winner of previous elections, took the fifth place with the worst electoral results in its history and thus confirmed a trend of decreasing its electoral preferences.

The once powerful Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), whose controversial rule in the 1990s was led by then prime minister Vladimr Meciar, left the Slovak political scene in 2014 after more than two decades of existence. The delegates of an extraordinary congress in Žilina on January 11 voted to dissolve the party. The congress was attended by 165 of a total of 200 delegates.

Sergej Kozlik, who led the political committee of the party since September 2013, said that the HZDS wound down due to internal inflexibility. The party couldnt exercise any self-assessment after [the 2010 general] election, said Kozlik, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that the party wasnt able to make any changes in its top echelons, with its leaders unwilling to accept and assume responsibility for the failure. The party has become rigid, its lost its momentum and has ultimately fallen.

SMK (Party of the Hungarian Coalition) was established in 1998 based on an extremely close cooperation of nationalistically oriented parties. By 2006 it had the most stable polling numbers of any party at around 10 percent which, not coincidentally, is also the estimated percentage of Slovakia's citizens who claim Hungarian nationality. SMK has been a stable coalition partner and has shown interest in a renewed coalition with SDKU. That said, SMK is quite flexible and is considered a possible coalition partner for SMER as well. SMK had ruled out participating in a government only with KSS or SNS. A rightwing subject with a rather conservative orientation, its most characteristic feature is represented by the significant focus on Hungarian minority citizens and voters.

SNS (Slovak National Party), which did not hold seats in the 2006 parliament due to fracturing in 2002, is more united and its popularity surged again in 2005. It polled around 8 percent in 2006. Its controversial and nationalist leader, Jan Slota, indicated that he is ready to cooperate with SMER or HZDS, but SMER has not indicated any interest in working with SNS. Unfortunately, polling surveys indicate that none of the major parties - with the sole exception of SMK - ruled out cooperation with SNS. Even top members of SDKU have noted that giving Slota a ministry is not much different than what was done with Pavol Rusko of ANO. In 2006 the SNS returned to Parliament after four years as it overcame its internal disintegration, and after it consolidated itself, it acquired the third best electoral results.

The first junior coalition partner in 2016 was the Slovak National party (SNS). After accepting SNS as a partner for the first time in 2006, the membership of Ficos party in the Party of European Socialists (PES) has been suspended as it violated the social-democratic principles of non-cooperation with nationalists. The suspension was lifted while SNS was still in government. SNS has since changed its discredited leadership, but stays highly suspicious towards European integration and even NATO, as well as being openly anti-immigration. In the government, SNS was responsible for defence, education and agriculture.

SF (Free Forum) was the new party of former SDKU MP Zuzana Martinakova. While not dramatically different than SDKU in her philosophy, Martinakova's harsh criticism of PM Dzurinda suggested that any future alliance with SDKU was unlikely. The party polled at 6.0 percent in 2006, but weakened slightly in recent weeks due to internal dissension and was not a sure bet to make it into parliament.

KSS (Communist Party of Slovakia) held seats in parliament. By its own admission, however, the party had little to offer voters since it was an unacceptable partner for all the other major parties. KSS had polled at a low but consistent 5.5 percent, and voter turnout would determine whether they can hold onto a minimum number of seats in Parliament.

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