Slovakia

   

Quality of Democracy

#26
Key Findings
Despite fair and inclusive electoral procedures, Slovakia falls into the lower-middle ranks (rank 26) with respect to democracy quality. Its score on this issue has declined by 0.3 points since 2014.

Campaign-financing rules have been strengthened, but a new electoral commission is dominated by parties rather than independent figures. Referenda rights are robust, though rarely used. Political pressure on the media has increased still further, though the high degree of pluralism ensures that diverse candidates retain fair access.

Civil rights are largely respected, but judicial integrity and mistreatment of the Roma population are problems. Demonstrations and protests have become more common. The government has stirred anti-immigrant feelings, and rates of discrimination and violence against minorities are relatively high.

A long-running dispute between the president and parliament that delayed appointments to the Constitutional Court was finally resolved. The minister of justice has sought to increase transparency and fight corruption in the judicial system, though with little support from the governing coalition.

Electoral Processes

#5

How fair are procedures for registering candidates and parties?

10
 9

Legal regulations provide for a fair registration procedure for all elections; candidates and parties are not discriminated against.
 8
 7
 6


A few restrictions on election procedures discriminate against a small number of candidates and parties.
 5
 4
 3


Some unreasonable restrictions on election procedures exist that discriminate against many candidates and parties.
 2
 1

Discriminating registration procedures for elections are widespread and prevent a large number of potential candidates or parties from participating.
Candidacy Procedures
10
The procedures for registering candidates and parties in Slovakia are fair and transparent. Candidates for presidency must be nominated by at least 15 members of the unicameral National Council or document support from at least 15,000 voters. While independent candidates cannot run for office, candidate lists for parliamentary elections can be nominated by registered political parties, movements and coalitions. For registration, the nominating organizations must obtain 10,000 signatures and make a deposit of €17,000, which is returned only to candidate lists that receive at least 2% of the vote.

While the procedures for registering candidates and parties remained unchanged in the period under review, other elements of election law have undergone change. In February 2017, parliament changed the rules for regional elections. Starting in 2022, regional elections will be held together with municipal elections. Consequently, the terms of regional members of parliament and governors elected in early November 2017 were extended from four to five years. More controversial was the abolition of the second voting round in the elections of regional governors, which was implemented in the 2017 elections. At least in the 2017 elections, however, these fears have turned out be unjustified, as Marián Kotleba, the extremist governor of the Banská Bystrica region, was not re-elected.

Citations:
Minarechová, R. (2017): Election changes may help extremists, in: Slovak Spectator, December 20, 201620.12.2016 (https://spectator.sme.sk/c/20411692/election-changes-may-help-extremists.html).

To what extent do candidates and parties have fair access to the media and other means of communication?

10
 9

All candidates and parties have equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. All major media outlets provide a fair and balanced coverage of the range of different political positions.
 8
 7
 6


Candidates and parties have largely equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. The major media outlets provide a fair and balanced coverage of different political positions.
 5
 4
 3


Candidates and parties often do not have equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. While the major media outlets represent a partisan political bias, the media system as a whole provides fair coverage of different political positions.
 2
 1

Candidates and parties lack equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communications. The major media outlets are biased in favor of certain political groups or views and discriminate against others.
Media Access
9
Despite the government’s attempts at controlling the media and the recent changes in media ownership, Slovakia’s media market is so pluralistic as to ensure that all candidates and parties have fair access to the media. Election laws mandate that campaign messages must be clearly distinguished from other media content. While the public Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS) is required to introduce the candidates and present their campaigns, this is optional for private-media organizations.Since the parliamentary elections in March 2016, the publication of opinion poll results is no longer allowed in the last 14 days before the elections. In the 2017 regional elections, another controversial rule was applied for the first time. The ban on the broadcasting of political advertisement by TV and radio stations in the 48 hours before election day was criticized for being selective by not including internet broadcasting and broadcasting from abroad.

To what extent do all citizens have the opportunity to exercise their right of participation in national elections?

10
 9

All adult citizens can participate in national elections. All eligible voters are registered if they wish to be. There are no discriminations observable in the exercise of the right to vote. There are no disincentives to voting.
 8
 7
 6


The procedures for the registration of voters and voting are for the most part effective, impartial and nondiscriminatory. Citizens can appeal to courts if they feel being discriminated. Disincentives to voting generally do not constitute genuine obstacles.
 5
 4
 3


While the procedures for the registration of voters and voting are de jure non-discriminatory, isolated cases of discrimination occur in practice. For some citizens, disincentives to voting constitute significant obstacles.
 2
 1

The procedures for the registration of voters or voting have systemic discriminatory effects. De facto, a substantial number of adult citizens are excluded from national elections.
Voting and Registration Rights
9
The electoral process is largely inclusive. In principle, all adult citizens can participate in elections. There is a special electoral register for Slovak citizens without permanent residence in the country (i.e., homeless people). Since November 2009, only prisoners who have been sentenced for “particularly serious crimes” have been disenfranchised. Voters that will not be in their place of residence on election day can ask for a special voter’s pass that enables voting elsewhere. The new election law passed in 2015 has united regulations for all types of elections in Slovakia, thereby removing the discrimination of citizens residing or staying abroad at the time of presidential elections. Unlike in the past, they can now vote by mail in both parliamentary and presidential elections.

To what extent is private and public party financing and electoral campaign financing transparent, effectively monitored and in case of infringement of rules subject to proportionate and dissuasive sanction?

10
 9

The state enforces that donations to political parties are made public and provides for independent monitoring to that respect. Effective measures to prevent evasion are effectively in place and infringements subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.
 8
 7
 6


The state enforces that donations to political parties are made public and provides for independent monitoring. Although infringements are subject to proportionate sanctions, some, although few, loopholes and options for circumvention still exist.
 5
 4
 3


The state provides that donations to political parties shall be published. Party financing is subject to some degree of independent monitoring but monitoring either proves regularly ineffective or proportionate sanctions in case of infringement do not follow.
 2
 1

The rules for party and campaign financing do not effectively enforce the obligation to make the donations public. Party and campaign financing is neither monitored independently nor, in case of infringements, subject to proportionate sanctions.
Party Financing
6
After long debate and various failed attempts, new rules on campaign finance were eventually adopted in May 2014 and became effective in July 2015. The new rules limit campaign expenditures to €3 million for parties and €500,000 for candidates for presidential, regional and communal elections. Parties or candidates that exceed these limits can be fined up to €300,000. Parties and candidates are required to have a transparent bank account for electoral purposes that serves as a mechanism for monitoring transactions and donors. Vote-buying is subject to penalty, as is “stealing” the name of another party shortly before it is registered. Since August 2015, a newly created state commission for elections and political party financing has overseen campaigns and elections. The appointment of the 14 members of the commission in August 2015 confirmed concerns about its independence. The governing Smer-SD had a clear majority in the commission, since ten members were chosen by the parliamentary parties on the basis of their shares in seats and four members were nominated by state institutions dominated by Smer-SD (Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, General Prosecutor, Audit Office). No representative of a watchdog institution made it into the commission. Reflecting Smer-SD’s weaker showing in the 2016 elections, the party’s dominance in the commission weakened in the recent parliamentary term. All parties have continued to send party officials rather than more independent persons into the commission. The opposition members have not challenged the parties’ financial reports for 2016 and the campaign for the regional elections in November 2017.

Citations:
OSCE/ODIHRR (2016): Election Assessment Mission Final Report Slovakia: Parliamentary Elections March 5. 2016. Warsaw, 9-11 (http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/slovakia/235591?download=true).

Do citizens have the opportunity to take binding political decisions when they want to do so?

10
 9

Citizens have the effective opportunity to actively propose and take binding decisions on issues of importance to them through popular initiatives and referendums. The set of eligible issues is extensive, and includes national, regional, and local issues.
 8
 7
 6


Citizens have the effective opportunity to take binding decisions on issues of importance to them through either popular initiatives or referendums. The set of eligible issues covers at least two levels of government.
 5
 4
 3


Citizens have the effective opportunity to vote on issues of importance to them through a legally binding measure. The set of eligible issues is limited to one level of government.
 2
 1

Citizens have no effective opportunity to vote on issues of importance to them through a legally binding measure.
Popular Decision-Making
8
The Slovak constitution provides far-reaching possibilities for citizens to actively propose and take binding decisions on issues of importance to them through popular initiatives and referendums (articles 93 – 100). Referendums are obligatory in the case of the country entering or withdrawing from an alliance with other states (like the European Union). Furthermore, a referendum can be called for in the case of “other important issues of public interest” (Article 93.2); referendums on basic rights and liberties, taxes, levies, and the state budget are forbidden (Article 93.3). There are two ways to call a referendum: by a resolution of the National Council or on the basis of a petition signed by a minimum of 350,000 citizens. The results of referendums are binding, and the constitutional barriers for changing the decisions are high; only a three-fifths majority in the National Council can overrule a decision made by referendum, and can do so only after three years (Article 99.1). Likewise, no referendum on the same issue can be held until three years have passed (Article 99.2). Similar provisions exist at the local level. In the period under review, however, no referendum was held.

Access to Information

#26

To what extent are the media independent from government?

10
 9

Public and private media are independent from government influence; their independence is institutionally protected and fully respected by the incumbent government.
 8
 7
 6


The incumbent government largely respects the independence of media. However, there are occasional attempts to exert influence.
 5
 4
 3


The incumbent government seeks to ensure its political objectives indirectly by influencing the personnel policies, organizational framework or financial resources of public media, and/or the licensing regime/ market access for private media.
 2
 1

Major media outlets are frequently influenced by the incumbent government promoting its partisan political objectives. To ensure pro-government media reporting, governmental actors exert direct political pressure and violate existing rules of media regulation or change them to benefit their interests.
Media Freedom
5
Under the third Fico government, political pressure on the media increased. Prime Minister Fico and Speaker of Parliament Andrej Danko, the head of the SNS, continued to criticize journalists. The situation between the prime minister and the media was strained as Fico refused to answer questions from particular newspapers and launched verbal attacks against the media during his press conferences. Fico and Danko harshly attacked the public broadcaster RTVS, reproaching it for being opposition-oriented. In June 2017, parliament denied Václav Mika, the incumbent director of RTVS, a second mandate and replaced him with Jaroslav Rezník. A director of the Slovak Radio Broadcasting in the late 1990s and former chair of Slovak Press Agency (TASR), Rezník has been criticized by opposition parties (SAS and OĽaNO), NGOs and media professionals for his servility toward those in power, and his responsibility for the controversial cooperation of TASR with the Russian agency Sputnik, which is known as a Kremlin’s propaganda instrument.

Citations:
N.N. (2017): Politics and businesses endanger the freedom of media, in: Slovak Spectator, June 27, 2017 (https://spectator.sme.sk/c/20568685/politics-and-businesses-endanger-the-freedom-of-media.html).


Terenzani, M. (2017): Is new RTVS director a threat to media freedom? in: Slovak Spectator, June 20, 2017 (https://spectator.sme.sk/c/20563948/is-new-rtvs-director-a-threat-to-media-freedom.html).

To what extent are the media characterized by an ownership structure that ensures a pluralism of opinions?

10
 9

Diversified ownership structures characterize both the electronic and print media market, providing a well-balanced pluralism of opinions. Effective anti-monopoly policies and impartial, open public media guarantee a pluralism of opinions.
 8
 7
 6


Diversified ownership structures prevail in the electronic and print media market. Public media compensate for deficiencies or biases in private media reporting by representing a wider range of opinions.
 5
 4
 3


Oligopolistic ownership structures characterize either the electronic or the print media market. Important opinions are represented but there are no or only weak institutional guarantees against the predominance of certain opinions.
 2
 1

Oligopolistic ownership structures characterize both the electronic and the print media market. Few companies dominate the media, most programs are biased, and there is evidence that certain opinions are not published or are marginalized.
Media Pluralism
6
As other East-Central European countries, Slovakia has experienced a passing of private media ownership from foreign owners to intransparent domestic owners. A large number of media outlets are now directly or indirectly controlled by various Slovak financial groups (such as Penta, Grafobal Group, and J&T). In autumn 2014, the Penta financial group entered the media market, buying 45% of Petit Press from the German Rheinisch Bergische Verlagsgesellschaft (RBVG), which publishes the Sme daily, Slovakia’s most influential political daily – a transaction finally approved by the Anti-Monopoly Office in June 2016. Penta, whose true owners are still unknown, has also acquired two other publishing houses, and controls the economic weekly Trend, the daily Plus Jeden Deň and the weekly Plus 7 Dní (the latter two of which are tabloids). In addition, it operates websites and purchases advertising space via its media agency. The electronic public media only partly compensate for the ongoing concentration of ownership in print media. More recently, there are plans for the Chinese energy and investment group CEFC and the financial group Penta to jointly purchase the media group Central European Media Enterprises (CME). CME owns several TV stations in six central and eastern European countries, including the most watched private broadcaster in Slovakia, Markíza. If CEFC and Penta bought CME, this would lead to a significant concentration of the media in Slovakia, as all big media outlets would be connected. In response, the minister of culture, Marek Maďarič, announced a plan to strengthen the regulation of media cross ownership.

To what extent can citizens obtain official information?

10
 9

Legal regulations guarantee free and easy access to official information, contain few, reasonable restrictions, and there are effective mechanisms of appeal and oversight enabling citizens to access information.
 8
 7
 6


Access to official information is regulated by law. Most restrictions are justified, but access is sometimes complicated by bureaucratic procedures. Existing appeal and oversight mechanisms permit citizens to enforce their right of access.
 5
 4
 3


Access to official information is partially regulated by law, but complicated by bureaucratic procedures and some poorly justified restrictions. Existing appeal and oversight mechanisms are often ineffective.
 2
 1

Access to official information is not regulated by law; there are many restrictions of access, bureaucratic procedures and no or ineffective mechanisms of enforcement.
Access to Government Information
8
Access to government information is guaranteed by the constitution and the Act on Free Access to Information (Infolaw), which was originally approved in 2000 and has been amended several times since. In mid-2015, parliament started to discuss an ambitious amendment which had been prepared by a commission established by the Ministry of Justice. Moreover, shortly before the parliamentary elections in March 2016, three prominent watchdog organizations (Transparency International Slovensko, Fair-Play Alliance, INEKO) lobbied for improvements in the Infolaw. In particular, they recommended subjecting companies that are fully owned by the state or municipalities to the Infolaw and making public the salaries and CVs of state nominees. Moreover, the agreements signed by the state and municipalities should be published at one place and the state should start to systematically connect the databases about public procurement, founding and ownership of companies, EU funds and owners of property. After the elections, Lucia Žitňanská, the new minister of justice in the third Fico government, prepared a new draft amendment that incorporates most of these recommendations. Though the draft amendment had not been sent to parliament by November 2017.

Citations:
Školkay, A. (2015): Complex amendment to Slovakia’s FOI Act might make it one of the most liberal in Europe. LSE, Media Policy Project Blog, London (http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mediapolicyproject/2015/04/24/complex-amendment-to-slovakias-foi-act-might-make-it-one-of-the-most-liberal-in-europe/).

Civil Rights and Political Liberties

#28

To what extent does the state respect and protect civil rights and how effectively are citizens protected by courts against infringements of their rights?

10
 9

All state institutions respect and effectively protect civil rights. Citizens are effectively protected by courts against infringements of their rights. Infringements present an extreme exception.
 8
 7
 6


The state respects and protects rights, with few infringements. Courts provide protection.
 5
 4
 3


Despite formal protection, frequent infringements of civil rights occur and court protection often proves ineffective.
 2
 1

State institutions respect civil rights only formally, and civil rights are frequently violated. Court protection is not effective.
Civil Rights
7
In Slovakia, civil rights are largely respected. However, the integrity of the judiciary and the long duration of court proceedings remain a problem, as do the police discrimination and mistreatment of the Roma population. In the period under review, clashes over these issues between the government and Public Defender of Rights (Ombudswoman) Jana Dubovcová continued.

To what extent does the state concede and protect political liberties?

10
 9

All state institutions concede and effectively protect political liberties.
 8
 7
 6


All state institutions for the most part concede and protect political liberties. There are only few infringements.
 5
 4
 3


State institutions concede political liberties but infringements occur regularly in practice.
 2
 1

Political liberties are unsatisfactory codified and frequently violated.
Political Liberties
8
In Slovakia, political rights are largely respected. Citizens can freely join independent political and civic groups. The Ministry of Interior has registered over 35.000 such associations and over 60 political parties, though only 23 of which took part in the 2016 parliamentary elections. In the period under review, several mass protests against corruption took place, calling for the dismissal of Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, Police Corps President Tibor Gašpar and Special Prosecutor Dušan Kováčik.

How effectively does the state protect against different forms of discrimination?

10
 9

State institutions effectively protect against and actively prevent discrimination. Cases of discrimination are extremely rare.
 8
 7
 6


State anti-discrimination protections are moderately successful. Few cases of discrimination are observed.
 5
 4
 3


State anti-discrimination efforts show limited success. Many cases of discrimination can be observed.
 2
 1

The state does not offer effective protection against discrimination. Discrimination is widespread in the public sector and in society.
Non-discrimination
5
While Slovakia has fairly sophisticated anti-discrimination legislation in place, the discrimination of Roma, women and LGBTI persons continues to be a major problem. The Roma population has suffered from the lack of access to adequate housing, the pervasive segregation of Roma children and their very high dropout levels in the education system, the excessive use of force by police officers during raids carried out in Roma settlements and various manifestations of hate speech. The second and the third Fico governments alike have not cooperated with Public Defender of Rights (Ombudswoman) Jana Dubovcová who has again and again drawn public attention to the discrimination of Roma. The new commissioner (government proxy) for Roma affairs appointed by the third Fico government (nominated by Most-Híd) has been only slowly gaining public support and political standing. Since the onset of the refugee crisis, Prime Minister Fico stirred a discriminatory discourse on refugees and migrants. Intolerance of immigrants, and discrimination and violence against minorities in Slovakia is relatively high. The most recent report of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) underlines the continuing discrimination of Roma and recommends effective measures to eliminate discrimination against members of the Roma minority. Moreover, CERD also expressed regret over the Slovak government ignoring its previous recommendations on creating an independent institution to investigate crimes committed by the police. The CERD again recommended that the government quickly create such an institution. The conclusions of the European Council’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) issued in March 2017 recommended the adoption of legislative changes to tackle racism and racial discrimination, the introduction of a mechanism for collecting joint data on hate speech incidents, the adoption of legislation banning political parties openly hostile to human rights, and the ratification of the Additional Protocol the Convention on Cybercrime. Moreover, the report states that the Ministry of Justice set up a working group in 2016 in order to develop proposals for the reform of the Slovak National Center for Human Rights. This task has not been accomplished yet.

Citations:
European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) (2017): Conclusions on the implementation of the recoomendations in respect to the Slovak Republic subject to interim follow up. CRI(2017) 24. Strasbourg (https://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/Country-by-country/Slovakia/Slovakia_CBC_en.asp).

United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (2018): Concluding observations on the combined eleventh and twelfth periodic reports of Slovakia. CERD/C/SVK/CO/11-12, Geneva (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/SKIndex.aspx).

Rule of Law

#32

To what extent do government and administration act on the basis of and in accordance with legal provisions to provide legal certainty?

10
 9

Government and administration act predictably, on the basis of and in accordance with legal provisions. Legal regulations are consistent and transparent, ensuring legal certainty.
 8
 7
 6


Government and administration rarely make unpredictable decisions. Legal regulations are consistent, but leave a large scope of discretion to the government or administration.
 5
 4
 3


Government and administration sometimes make unpredictable decisions that go beyond given legal bases or do not conform to existing legal regulations. Some legal regulations are inconsistent and contradictory.
 2
 1

Government and administration often make unpredictable decisions that lack a legal basis or ignore existing legal regulations. Legal regulations are inconsistent, full of loopholes and contradict each other.
Legal Certainty
6
Government and administration in Slovakia largely act on the basis of the law. However, legal certainty has suffered from frequent legal amendments and opaque laws. The high level of political polarization in Slovakia, combined with frequent changes in government, has made many laws rather short lived. A second problem has been the growing complexity of laws. As a result of frequent amendments, many laws have come opaque and inconsistent. This situation was widely criticized by many NGOs and watchdog organizations (e.g., Via Iuris, TIS, SGI). In response, parliament in November 2015 approved two important amendments to improve things. First, it changed the act on lawmaking, introducing the public’s right to participate in lawmaking and stipulating that each governmental legislative draft has to be submitted for public discussion. Second, the rules of procedure for parliament were changed to prohibit “legislative adjuncts,” that is, the opportunity to change existing legislation by amending drafts that are currently under discussion, a practice often used to avoid lengthy parliamentary readings.

To what extent do independent courts control whether government and administration act in conformity with the law?

10
 9

Independent courts effectively review executive action and ensure that the government and administration act in conformity with the law.
 8
 7
 6


Independent courts usually manage to control whether the government and administration act in conformity with the law.
 5
 4
 3


Courts are independent, but often fail to ensure legal compliance.
 2
 1

Courts are biased for or against the incumbent government and lack effective control.
Judicial Review
6
The Slovakian court system has for long suffered from low-quality decisions, a high backlog of cases, rampant corruption and repeated government intervention. Positive changes brought about from within the judiciary after the disempowerment of Stefan Harabín, a controversial figure who had held major positions in the Slovak judiciary for some time. Lucia Žitňanská, the minister of justice in the third Fico government, has sought to foster transparency and fight corruption in the judicial system. Among other things, the ministry has started to create a new database to be used for improving the training of justices and their allocation to the courts. The Constitutional Court has generally operated independently of the executive branch of government. However, its performance has suffered from a high backlog of cases, aggravated by a long-standing stalemate between President Kiska and parliament over the appointment of new justices. In its most important decision in the period under review, the court ruled that the amnesties granted by then-prime minister Mečiar in 1998 were not in line with his duty of restraint. This ruling has enabled the criminal prosecution of Mečiar for the kidnapping of Mr. Kováč, Jr., the son of the former president.

Citations:
Ľalík, T. (2017): Tracing constitutional changes in Slovakia between 2008-2016, in: Hungarian Journal of Legal Studies 58(2): 117-138.

To what extent does the process of appointing (supreme or constitutional court) justices guarantee the independence of the judiciary?

10
 9

Justices are appointed in a cooperative appointment process with special majority requirements.
 8
 7
 6


Justices are exclusively appointed by different bodies with special majority requirements or in a cooperative selection process without special majority requirements.
 5
 4
 3


Justices are exclusively appointed by different bodies without special majority requirements.
 2
 1

All judges are appointed exclusively by a single body irrespective of other institutions.
Appointment of Justices
6
The justices of the Constitutional Court (CC) and the Supreme Court (SC) are selected by the president on the basis of proposals made by the parliament (National Council of the Slovak Republic), without any special majority requirement. Since 2014, the selection of justices has been paralyzed by a struggle between President Kiska, who had made judicial reform a priority in his successful presidential campaign in 2014, and the Smer-SD-dominated parliament. Ignoring a decision by the CC, Kiska blocked the appointment of new justices, arguing that the candidates greenlighted by the National Council do not fulfill the high requirements for Constitutional Court justices. As a result, three out of 19 seats in the CC remained vacant for about three years. Following recommendations by the so-called Venice Commission (Council of Europe’s European Commission for Democracy Through Law) in March 2017, Kiska eventually gave in in early December 2017, so that the vacancies could be filled. Minister of Justice Lucia Žitňanská (Most-Híd) has clarified the rules on the selection of CC justices. In 2018, another nine justices will have to be replaced.

Citations:
Slovak Spectator (2017): President to appoint missing Constitutional Court justices, 13.12.2017 (https://spectator.sme.sk/c/20717565/president-to-appoint-missing-constitutional-court-justices.html).

To what extent are public officeholders prevented from abusing their position for private interests?

10
 9

Legal, political and public integrity mechanisms effectively prevent public officeholders from abusing their positions.
 8
 7
 6


Most integrity mechanisms function effectively and provide disincentives for public officeholders willing to abuse their positions.
 5
 4
 3


Some integrity mechanisms function, but do not effectively prevent public officeholders from abusing their positions.
 2
 1

Public officeholders can exploit their offices for private gain as they see fit without fear of legal consequences or adverse publicity.
Corruption Prevention
5
Corruption is the most sensitive political problem undermining political stability and quality of democracy in Slovakia. The previous two governments headed by Robert Fico did not pay much attention to anti-corruption efforts and were shaken by several corruption scandals. The government manifesto of the third Fico government contained some anti-corruption measures, and the new minister of justice, Lucia Žitňanská (Most-Híd) initiated several reforms to fight corruption. In the period under review, the alleged corruption case involving Minister of Interior Robert Kaliňák and Prime Minister Fico has continued to attract the most attention. Their links to Ladislav Basternak, a business man involved in fraud, have led to several votes of no confidence. Thanks to the government’s parliamentary majority, the interior minister survived all of them. Given the governing coalition’s intransigence on this issue, all attempts by the justice minister to introduce and strengthen transparency, the new rules to protect whistleblowers, the cooperation of the government with the OECD on combating corruption, and the establishment of the Department for the Prevention of Corruption at the Slovak Government Office have not achieved any substantial change.

Citations:
Šimalčík, M. (2017): Napriek zlepšeniu „veľké ryby“ stále nechytáme. November 11, 2017 (http://transparency.sk/sk/napriek-zlepseniu-velke-ryby-stale-nechytame/).
N.N. (2017) Slovaks are unsatisfied with police uncovering corruption, in: Slovak Spectator, December 11, 2017 (https://spectator.sme.sk/c/20716114/five-embassies-call-on-slovak-cabinet-to-further-combat-corruption.html).
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