Saturday, March 10, 2012
Slovaks vote today for new government
The election is happening two years early after a coalition government with the social democrats collapsed when a free market party that was part of the group refused to back the expansion of the EU bailout fund last October.
The polls show that the Smer Social Democrats are likely to win. This is the party of former Prime Minister Robert Fico. The right-wing parties are unpopular because of what is called the Gorilla graft scandal. Gorilla is the nickname of one of the key figures involved.
In the capital Bratislava about 1,000 protesters massed in an anti-corruption rally. Banners read: "I don't vote for gorillas, I vote for change".
Fico's social democrats pledge to tax the rich and offer better protections for the working class as Slovakia has high unemployment. Many voters are disillusioned with all the parties and turnout may be as low as 44 per cent. Fico has pledged to overturn the flat 19 per cent income tax passed by an earlier right leaning government. He plans to raise the corporate tax rates from 19 per cent to 22 per cent as well. For more see this Al Jazeera article.