Roma Initiative to Run in Parliamentary Elections

The Roma ethnic minority in Slovakia could find themselves in a more powerful position after the early elections on 10 March 2012 because a Roma initiative will be running in the race independently, reports

Many Roma live in squalid conditions (c) Margoz

The Roma Initiative of Slovakia (RIS), which was established 15 years ago, wants to deal with issues like unemployment and the poor social situation of the Roma in the country by going into the parliamentary elections by itself for the first time.

The RIS board took the decision on Sunday 30 October spurred on by the current situation in Slovakia as it sees this option as the most sensible and practical. A previous attempt in 2010 by the Roma Coalition Party (SRK) got just 0.27% of the vote, but the RIS is hoping to get at least three percent, which would not be enough to get it into parliament, though.

The RIS will have to deal with the usual problem of vote-buying as well, because in the past various parties have allegedly offered perks or money to Roma citizens in return for their vote. The RIS believes that also non-Roma voters who are sick of the situation in Slovak politics will also give their support to the initiative.

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