Today, 13 July, the ruling SaS held a press conference to express its discontent over how President Ivan Gasparovic handled their call for a referendum. They claim that he has done everything he could to thwart the referendum.
Party head and Parliamentary Chairman, Richard Sulik, said about the President: “He had a chance to show that he is a true democrat and that he takes people’s opinions into consideration. Unfortunately, he failed to make use of this opportunity”. Sulik also mentioned that President Gasparovic had done nothing to keep the cost of the referendum as low as possible.
“He acted as he did, and he virtually buried the referendum” said SaS MP, Robert Mistrik. The President has openly criticised the referendum, saying it was to promote the SaS party, pointless and a waste of money.
The referendum set for 18 September is to deal with six issues: abolishing the TV and radio licence fees, reducing MP immunity, cutting the number of MPs from 150 to 100, setting the maximum price of cars being bought for government officials, the introduction of electronic voting in the elections, and finally, it should abolish the right to reply by public officials (as incorporated in the current Press Act from 2008).
More than a 50% turnout is required for the referendum to be valid, but analysts expect it to be a failure, mostly because if its timing between last month’s general election and the local elections set for November.
The referendum will cost around EUR 7 million and the SaS party is yet to discuss the referendum with its coalition partners.