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Regional elections in Slovakia are a blow for the governing party

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Slovakia – The regional elections in Slovakia brought big changes: the Prime Minister’s party alongside with the radical nationalist party LSNS of Marian Kotleba are the main losers after the vote on November 4.

Two parties appear as the losers of these regional elections: the left wing SMER-SD of Robert Fico, the current Slovak Prime Minister, which lost four out of six governorships, but also the radical nationalist party LSNS, which lost the region of Banská Bystrica.

This huge loss for the currently main ruling party of the Prime Minister Robert Fico is seen by many as a strategical failure. Indeed, the voting system has been changed by the SMER-SD, turning the two-round election into a single round one.

This new voting rule, alongside with a stronger turnout (29.95%) than usual (20.11% in 2013) for this kind of election due to a mobilization of liberal forces in Slovakia, had a huge impact on the results; that leaded also the radical nationalist party LSNS to lose not only the governance of the Banská Bystrica region, but also to win only two seats out of 416 in Slovakia’s regional assemblies.

Of the eight governorships, five were won by coalitions headed by centre-right groups, two by coalitions headed by Smer-SD, and the region of Banská Bystrica – formerly led by nationalist Marian Kotleba – has been won by an independent.

This time the electoral term will be extended from four years to five years as a one-off measure in order to make it possible to organise the next regional elections in 2022 alongside the municipal elections.

Suspicions of vote-buying were reported in the week preceding the vote. On election day, such suspicions were reported from the Michalovce district in the east of the country, in the municipalities of Veľké Kapušany and Drahnov, reported the Slovak Spectator. The National Crime Agency (NAKA) has opened eight criminal proceedings over the suspicion of election corruption.