This week we discuss the Slovak presidential election and it’s shiny new president while also chatting about the abundance of white people!
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Also, have you considered Matteo Renzi?
European Parliament scales back publication of election polls
Brexit Nonsense Very Briefly
Jon Snow thinks the pro Brexit march was too white (www.theguardian.com )but then apologises.
Also we could be heading to “meaningful vote 4”… No link required, I’m too depressed to find a reference
MEP errors mean European copyright law may not have passed
Various news outlets have bad takes on this - (www.eurotopics.net. )I particularly like the claim that Süddeutsche Zeitung puts forward where they say this is not dissimilar to the weapons, car and tobacco industries.. not noticing that the copyright pushers are the records industry (always nice to their artists), giant news conglomerates (with them excluded actually) and other “content producers”. Google News is a different thing but this law is extremely broad.
Relatively good overview - www.theverge.com
People might remember a previous episode Hugh did on this - simplecast.com
Slovak Presidential Election
Čaputová wins with 40.6% in the first round and 58.4% of the vote in the second round. She is the first woman president of Slovakia (there’s beena a woman PM though, Iveta Radičová) and will be it’s youngest president when she’s inaugurated in June.
The opponent Maroš Šefčovič got 18.7% in the first round and 41.6% in the second round. He’s an independent but has the backing of the senior coalition partner party SMER-SD (S&D) and is seen as very establishment (he’s been Slovakia’s EU commissioner since 2009 and the Vice-Pres of the EU Comish since 2010 so yeah).
Her victory was not a shock in the polls by any stretch, both her victory in the first and second round was soundly predicted largely because she won the first round by 22 points.
Other fun fact is the turnout: the first round of 48.74% is the highest in modern Slovakian presidential elections (Since 1999) but the second round’s 41.79% is the lowest.
She’s from Progressive Slovakia (ALDE) which is kinda a weird party. Amongst their manifesto were some decent things such as
- Reducing unemployment
- Reducing preventable deaths
But then they had weird and terrible stuff like
- increasing kids school grades
- increasing the number of Roma kids in high school (with the caveat that they are settled so.. ugh)
- Shorten the time to set up a business in Slovakia by 50%.
- Increase public confidence in the Police by 50%
They also have a real weird obsession with having Slovakia rank highly on various indexes such as OECD Quality of Life, the UN World Happiness Index and the Good Country Index (for fuck’s sake!)
They stand out in Slovak politics by being pro-EU, pro-NATO and socially progressive and very critical of the current coalition government, namely due to the Slovak National Party being a part of it. They have also capitalized on Slovakians who oppose/are concerned by the policies of V4.
##The Candidates and the Campaign
The context of the campaign still seems to be a corruption problem of the ruling coalition and the senior party of SMER-SD (SPD) which was kicked off by the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee in 2018. Kuciak was investigating fraud cases that involved politically connected businessmen. The demonstrations were some of the biggest anti-government marches in Slovakia since 1989 and caused former prime minister, SMER leader Robert Fico, to resign.
Also worth pointing out that the incumbant Andrej Kiska, while popular did not run for another term.
So like I said earlier he’s very much viewed as the establishment, and y’know is. His campaign largely focused on attacking Čaputová on LGBT issues. Šefčovič is really bad on that, he opposes gay marriage, civil partnerships and same-sex adoption and thinks that the second round is an informal referendum on the matter (heh heh god job ya dolt). He praises Slovakia’s refusal to ratify the Istanbul Convention, which was a council of Europe convention against violence against women and domestic violence. He called it “gender ideology”.
He’s also opposed to further EU integration (odd considering his position in the EU comish) he believes that Slovakia is right to refuse refugees in large numbers (or any really) and believes that sanctions on Russia should be lifted and that Russia is not a threat to Slovakia and the EU.
His only good take, he doesn’t believe Slovakia should recognise Maduro or Guaido as Venezuelan president.
Studied law in Bratislava and worked in local government, then went into children’s rights NGO sector. She started her own law firm that works largely in environmental law.
She co-founded the party Progressive Slovakia in Jan 2018 and is vice-char.
Her main points:
- Radical (albeit slightly vague) reform of police, judiciary and prosecution office. More independent as institutions.
- Environmental Conservation
- Pensions and Elder Care (I think this might be her coolest stuff)
- Same-sex partnerships are good, same-sex adoption is okay
- Seems to be in favour of the status quo of abortion (before 12 weeks it’s okay, after 12 weeks with counselors and a panel, age restrictions etc)