Politics of Slovakia

Politics of Slovakia takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, with a multi-party system. Legislative power is vested in the parliament and it can be exerced in some cases also by the government or directly by citizens. Executive power is exercised by the government led by the Prime Minister. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The President is the head of the state.

Legal system

The Constitution of the Slovak Republic was ratified 1 September 1992, and became effective 1 October 1992 (some parts 1 January 1993). It was amended in September 1998 to allow direct election of the president and again in February 2001 due to EU admission requirements.The civil law system is based on Austro-Hungarian codes. The legal code was modified to comply with the obligations of Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and to expunge the Marxist-Leninist legal theory. Slovakia accepts the compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction with reservations.

Executive branch

President
Ivan Gašparovič
Movement for Democracy
15 June 2004
-
Prime Minister
Robert Fico
Direction - Social Democracy
4 July 2006
-
Deputy prime ministers
Dušan Čaplovič
Štefan Harabin
Direction - Social Democracy
HZDS
4 July 2006
4 July 2006

The president is the head of state and the formal head of the executive, though with very limited powers. The president is elected by direct, popular vote, under the two round system, for a five-year term.

Following National Council elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president. Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister has to receive the majority in the parliament. The government coalition as of July 2006 consists of Smer, SNS and HZDS.

Legislative branch

Slovakia's sole constitutional and legislative body is the 150-seat unicameral National Council of the Slovak Republic. Delegates are elected for 4-year terms on the basis of proportional representation.

The National Council considers and approves the Constitution, constitutional statutes and other legal acts. It also approves the state budget. It elects some officials specified by law as well as the candidates for the position of a Justice of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic and the Prosecutor General. Prior to their ratification, the parliament should approve all important international treaties. Moreover, it gives consent for dispatching of military forces outside of Slovakia's territory and for the presence of foreign military forces on the territory of the Slovak Republic.

Political parties and elections

Suffrage:18 years of age; universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot.

Presidential election:The president is elected by direct, popular vote, under the two round system, for a five-year term. Two rounds of the last election were held on April 3 and April 17, 2004 (next to be held April 2009).

Parliamentary election:Members of the National Council of the Slovak Republic are elected directly for a 4-year term, under the proportional system. Similarly to the Netherlands, the whole country forms one multi-member constituency. The election threshold is 5%. Voters may indicate their preferences within the semi-open list. Parliamentary elections were last held on June 17, 2006 (early elections).

Other election results::-EU parliament, see European Parliament election, 2004 (Slovakia):-Regions, see Slovak regional elections, 2005:-local authorities, see Slovak local authority election, 2002:-older elections, see Elections in Slovakia

Political parties:The Slovak political scene supports a wide spectrum of political parties including the communists (KSS) and the nationalists (SNS). New parties arise and old parties cease to exist or merge at a frequent rate. Major parties are members of the European political parties. Some parties have regional strongholds, for example SMK is supported mainly by the Hungarian minority living in southern Slovakia. Although the main political cleavage in the 1990s concerned the somewhat authoritarian policy of HZDS, the left-right conflict over economic reforms (principally between Direction - Social Democracy and Slovak Democratic and Christian Union - Democratic Party) has recently become the dominant cleavage in Slovakia's politics.

Judicial branch

The country's highest appellate forum is the Supreme Court ("Najvyšší súd"), the judges of which are elected by the National Council; below that are regional, district, and military courts. In certain cases the law provides for decisions of tribunals of judges to be attended by lay judges from the citizenry. Slovakia also has the Constitutional Court of Slovakia ("Ústavný súd Slovenskej Republiky"), which rules on constitutional issues. The 13 members of this court are appointed by the president from a slate of candidates nominated by Parliament.

In 2002 Parliament passed legislation which created a Judicial Council. This 18-member council, composed of judges, law professors, and other legal experts, is now responsible for the nomination of judges. All judges except those of the Constitutional Court are appointed by the president from a list proposed by the Judicial Council. The Council also is responsible for appointing Disciplinary Senates in cases of judicial misconduct.

International organization participation

Slovakia is member of ACCT (observer), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CE, CEI, CERN,European Audiovisual Observatory, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCclarifyme, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OASclarifyme (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNIDO, UNTSO, UPU, Visegrád Group, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO, ZC

Political pressure groups and leaders

*Association of Employers of Slovakia (AZS)
*Association of Towns and Villages (ZMOS)
*Confederation of Trade Unions of the Slovak Republic (KOZ)
*Metal Workers Unions (KOVO)
*METALURG


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