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Slovakia

Yearbook 1997

Slovakia. In February, the Slovak Parliament approved a referendum on a possible accession to NATO. The question of direct election by the president would also be included in the vote. So far, Parliament had appointed the president.

According to Countryaah, the months following Parliament's decision were marked by political disagreement over the referendum. Above all, it was the issue of direct election by the president that was controversial. The days before May 23, when the vote was to be held, the question of direct election was removed from the ballot papers. Many people therefore boycotted the vote. The election was later declared invalid by an election commission, which indicated the low turnout and the incorrect form of the ballots as reasons for the decision.

The roundtable talks that started after the failed referendum broke down in July. Political disagreement was further increased when it became clear that neither NATO nor the EU would negotiate with Slovakia for membership in the first round of negotiations.

1997 Slovakia

As in most European countries, the Roma - as in the Nazi era - are subject to increasing discrimination. In 2009, it was revealed that the authorities carried out forced sterilization of Roma women, displaced Roma from their slum settlements, and in 2010 the country announced plans to force Roma children from their parents to place them in iterative schools.

The election to the Slovak Parliament in March 2012 became a landslide victory for the Social Democratic Smer-SD, which went 21 seats up to 83 and thus gained an absolute majority in the 150-seat National Council. The party's chairman Robert Fico became new prime minister.

In August 2013, Kosice authorities accept a request from the EU Commission to remove a separation wall that separates the city's Roma residents from the rest of the population. However, xenophobia and discrimination against Roma are on the rise. At the November regional elections, the anti-Roma party Our Slovakia wins the post of governor of Banska Bystrica - one of the country's 7 regions. The right-wing party leader, Marian Kotleba, takes over as governor. Social democracy wins the governor post in the other regions.

Independent Andrej Kiska won the presidential election in March 2014 with 59.4% of the vote against the Socialist and incumbent Prime Minister Robert Fico who got 40.6%. In the first round, Kiska had only gained 24%, while Fico gained 28%. The election split the country into two parts. Fico won the lands in the east, while Kiska won the metropolitan region around Bratislava.

The government was strongly critical of the EU's sanctions against Russia in 2014 as a result of the crisis in Ukraine. Already in December 2013, after Ukraine refused to conclude an association agreement with the EU, Prime Minister Fico declared that the EU had to respect Ukraine's decision: "The EU is not a religion" and "Ukraine is fully entitled to join others roads'. Fico did not stand alone. The Czech Republic and Hungary were also strongly critical of EU sanctions policy. On the Slovak right, however, there was support for this policy. Slovakia has almost 100km border with Ukraine and there are 40-100,000 Ukrainians living in Slovakia. Trade with both Ukraine and Russia is limited, but Slovakia had an interest in a stable neighboring country. In 2014, US policy in Ukraine threw the country into civil war.

 

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