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Slovakia

https://www.idea.int/democracytracker/

March 2024

Special Prosecutor's Office is closed after penal code reform

The Special Prosecutor’s Office in Slovakia, which oversees cases of high-level corruption, closed on 20 March following reforms to the penal code. The decision was part of reforms, proposed by the government and approved by parliament on 8 February, aimed at providing stronger protection against prosecution for judges, lowering penalties for corruption and fraud, and abolishing the Special Prosecutor’s Office. The reforms were strongly criticized and the European Parliament expressed concerns that they would threaten the integrity of judicial processes. On 28 February, the Slovak Constitutional Court halted several parts of the reform such as prosecution protection and reduced penalties, but the abolishment of the Special Prosecutor’s Office went ahead. The other reforms that were planned to take effect on 15 March are now paused, pending further deliberation.

Sources: Balkan Insight, Euractiv (1), Euractiv (2), Reuters, The Slovak Spectator, European Parliament, Constitutional Court of Slovakia, National Council of the Slovak Republic

December 2023

Government tables amendments to deny police whistleblower protections
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The government approved amendments to the Whistleblower Protection Act which would remove whistleblower protections extended to police and enable the Attorney General to nullify court decisions granting whistleblower status. In addition, the proposed legislative changes would allow the whistleblower’s employer to appeal against the status. As a next step, the amendments will be put to a vote in Parliament. The new government, led by Robert Fico of the Smer-SD party, has suspended six police investigators at the National Crime Agency (NAKA), responsible for probing organized crime under previous Smer-SD governments. These investigators were given whistleblower status in October 2023 by the Special Prosecutor’s Office for a period of three years. The Interior Minister, Matúš Šutaj Eštok has claimed that the whistleblower status was granted illegally. In November, Eštok survived a no-confidence vote initiated by members of the opposition.

Sources: The Slovak Spectator (1), The Slovak Spectator (2), The Slovak Spectator (3), Euractiv (1), Euractiv (2), Aktuality

Penal code reforms would weaken anti-corruption efforts
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The government proposed amendments to the penal code which would dissolve the Special Prosecutor’s Office charged with overseeing high-level corruption cases and weaken penalties for crimes of corruption. Prime Minister Robert Fico has accused the body of bias against his Smer-SD party. On 12 December, thousands of people marched in Námestie Slobody (Freedom Square) in Bratislava and across the country to protest the planned reforms, and an estimated 35,000 people signed an online petition to express their resistance to the proposals. The amendments have been roundly criticized by the EU and the opposition. As a next step, the draft bill will be put to a vote in Parliament via a fast-tracked legislative process. The European Parliament will vote on a resolution in mid-January.

Sources: Renew Europe, Barron’s, The Slovak Spectator, Pravda

September 2023

Pro-Russian Robert Fico wins snap elections
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The populist left-wing Smer party led by former Prime Minister Robert Fico won early parliamentary elections, held on 30 September. Smer won 22.94 per cent of the vote and 42 of the 150 seats in the country’s unicameral Parliament. A total of seven parties will be represented in Parliament. Progressive Slovakia (PS) came in second place with 17.96 per cent of the vote and 32 seats, winning 61.7 per cent of the record-high overseas vote. The centre-left Hlas party, an offshoot from the Smer party, placed third with 27 seats, followed by the OL’aNO party with 16 seats. The Christian Democrat party and nationalist SNS party also returned to Parliament. Voter turnout was 68.42 per cent. The elected MPs comprise 33 women (22 per cent) and 117 men (78 per cent).

Sources: Robert Schuman Foundation, Aktuality (1), Aktuality (2), Euractiv, Politico, Statistics Office (1), Statistics Office (2), RFERL

August 2023

Police apprehend intelligence heads accused of obstructing corruption investigations

Police arrested multiple high-ranking officials in the intelligence services on charges of organised crime, abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The directors of the Slovak Information Service and the National Security Authority are among seven people facing charges for alleged interference with the investigation of high-level corruption cases involving government officials. The officials arrested included Tibor Gašpar, who is a candidate in Robert Fico's Smer party in the upcoming elections and served as chief of police under Fico’s regime from 2012-2018. Fico has claimed the arrests represent a police coup, calling the moves political calculations to weaken his party, currently leading in the polls, in the approach to the elections scheduled for 30 September. President Zuzana Čaputová convened the Security Council for an emergency meeting, where she underscored that no coup had been executed by the police, and that Slovak security agencies continued to be operational.

Sources: Politico, SME (1), SME (2), SME (3), SME (4), DW, Balkan Insight, Aktuality, The Slovak Spectator

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GSoD Indices Data 2013-2022

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Basic Information

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Population Tooltip
5 447 250
System of government
Parliamentary system
Head of government
Prime Minister Robert Fico (since 2023)
Head of government party
Direction - Social Democracy (Smer)
Electoral system for lower or single chamber
List Proportional Representation
Women in lower or single chamber
22.7%
Women in upper chamber
Not applicable
Last legislative election
2023
Effective number of political parties Tooltip
7.8
Head of state
President Zuzana Čaputová
Selection process for head of state
Direct election (two-round majority)
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) date
06/05/2024
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) percentage of recommendations supported
90.26% (2019)
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Human Rights Treaties

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State Party State party
Signatory Signatory
No Action No action
United Nations Human Right Treaties
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
State Party
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
State Party
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
State Party
Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
State Party
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
State Party
Convention on the Rights of the Child
State Party
International Convention on Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
No Action
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 
State Party
International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
State Party
International Labour Organisation Treaties
Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention
State Party
Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention
State Party
Equal Remuneration Convention
State Party
Abolition of Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention
State Party
Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
State Party
Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention
State Party
Regional Treaties
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol No. 4 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol No. 6 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol No. 7 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
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Protocol No. 12 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
Signatory
Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
in
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Performance by category over the last 6 months

Representation neutral Representation
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Representation neutral Rights
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Representation neutral Rule of law
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Representation neutral Participation
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Global State of Democracy Indices

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Explore the indices
Representation
Representation
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/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rights
Rights
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rule of Law
Rule of Law
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Participation
Participation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4

Factors of Democratic Performance Over Time

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