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Threats to Democracy in Slovakia

Posted on the 30 May 2017 by Center For International Private Enterprise @CIPEglobal

Threats to Democracy in Slovakia

By Peter Goliaš, Jozef Hajko, and Michal Piško

The Institute for Economic and Social Reform (INEKO), with support from CIPE and the National Endowment for Democracy, conducted a study on the recent trends in Slovakia affecting democracy in the country. The study shows considerable popular dissatisfaction with the quality of democracy, worsening in the last few years. In order to ensure broad input, the research was based on a representative public poll, a questionnaire conducted with selected public figures, detailed interviews with business people, and discussions with thought leaders and students. The results reveal that the most frustrated segment of the population is prone to accept radical non-democratic solutions. This is a warning sign that further strengthening of extremists and opportunists in Slovakia’s political life is a real possibility.

The latest CIPE Feature Service article summarizes key findings of this study along with recommendations for various stakeholders, including the government, political parties, civil society, media, businesses, donors, as well as teachers and the society at large.

There are no simple solutions to declining trust in democratic institutions and the rise of extremist and opportunistic political forces. In order to survive and thrive, though, democracy must be supported by a strong informal coalition of stakeholders focused on checking the government’s actions, improving transparency of public spending and decision-making, fighting against bribery, and supporting reforms.

Article at a glance:

  • Despite nearly three decades of progress, the recent rise of authoritarian-leaning and opportunistic politicians in Slovakia and other Central European countries points to the challenges faced by these young democracies.
  • Just like in 1989, growing dissatisfaction is generating demand for change. This time, however, the feelings of frustration may push people further towards extreme ideas as opposed to democratic ideals.
  • Building and preserving inclusive democratic institutions is a formidable challenge, as illustrated by the current troubling developments in Slovakia.

The full article is available here.

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