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Slovakia: new group of activists

Slovakia: new group of activists

In March 2012 democracy activists founded the group OZ PD (Direct Democracy Association) in Bratislava to realise citizen-friendly referenda. Also they launched the Petition for a better Slovakia with the goal of improving Slovakia’s legislation for referenda. The campaign is gathering momentum in Slovakia.

The activists around Paul Pirovits and Marián Orávik use the current referendum law to realise their aim. This strategy is called “referendum about the referendum”. It was applied by Mehr Demokratie in Germany successfully several times, yet only on the regional level. Slovakia is among the few EU countries where activists apply this approach to the national level.

By February 2013, the group has reportedly collected 25.000 signatures. The petition started during the mass protests against corruption, “Gorilla”. This is the name of a secret wiretap file leaked to the internet in December 2011, revealing corruption activities by Slovakia’s top politicians.

The scandal pushed the movement as it became obvious that the system of checks and balances does not work sufficiently in Slovakia. The group activists see the introduction of a fair referendum law as a remedy against corruption in their home country. 

In Slovakia’s history of the past twenty years, only one valid referendum was held. In 2003 nine out of ten eligible Slovaks voted in favour of Slovakia joining the European Union. However, this referendum was introduced by the government. In Slovakia, there has not yet been any referendum initiated by the citizens. 

Further information: 

on Slovakia's provision of direct democracy in the Navigator to Direct Democracy
on the referenda held in Slovakia's history
on the corruption scandal Gorilla

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