Slovakia: Gains and Losses During Elections
Košice, 28 September (RPA) — As of 1 September of this year Law no. 300/2005 Coll. – the Penal Law – has been amended. The amended law follows from the constantly increasing number of election complaints submitted to the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic regarding the results of elections and adds election corruption to the list of punishable offenses.
The law states that it will be possible to consider as electoral corruption acts of a person who directly, or through a broker, provides, offers or promises a bribe to a person who has the right to vote or participate in a referendum or popular vote on the recalling of the Slovak Republic, so that the person votes or doesn’t vote in a particular way or does not take part in an election, referendum or popular vote on the recall of a president of the Slovak Republic. In addition, any person who accepts, requests or promises such a mentioned bribe can also be considered as committing an act of punishable election corruption. For committing this punishable act an offender is threatened with up to five years in prison.
The amendment became necessary mainly due to expanded election corruption in Roma communities, in which political parties have reportedly bought votes. This practice, according to lawmakers, is a threat to democracy in Slovakia.
Editors at the Roma Media Center have devoted themselves to the subject of buying Roma votes in elections before. During the year 2010 they prepared a television report on the subject. What did the Roma community in Slovakia gain or lose during the 2010 elections? Roma candidates won 29 mayor positions and 100 representatives were elected in local governments. The report by the Roma Media Center describes how the development of the political representation of the Roma community developed in the Slovak Republic. How party campaigners targeted Roma voters whom they needed to gain seats rather than truly represent their interests.