SaS flies forward in election race

The new parties on the political scene are gaining in popularity in the race to the election polls. The SaS party (Freedom and Solidarity) of Richard Sulik has been stealing votes mainly from the SDKU (31 percent) and ruling coalition Smer (21 percent), while the new offshoot Hungarian party Most-Híd of Bela Bugar is gaining from his former party SMK (58 percent).

Yesterday Oľga Gyárfášová from the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) presented the estimates at a special panel discussion organised by the Slovak Association of Research Agencies, where she informed how both these new parties were doing particularly well also among first-time voters, attributing 21 percent of new voters to SaS and 18 percent to Most-Híd.

She noted how in 2006 no new political party had made it into parliament, but this time round SaS and Most-Híd are both estimated to have gained the favour of over 5 percent of voters needed to get into parliament, according to the latest election surveys from Polis Slovakia, AVVM, Focus, and MVK agencies. The one exception was the poll of Median SK, which found that only SaS would make it into parliament, while neither Most-Híd and SMK would get the required 5 percent, having split the Hungarian vote in two.

Sociologist Gyárfášová said the advantage of SaS is its ability to address voters of both the ruling coalition and the opposition, in addition to the fact that it has managed to gain support from these first-time voters, former non-voters (11 percent) and voters of other political parties (16 percent). The SaS is regarded by many analysts as having the most progressive pre-election campaign aimed at young voters, with a particularly strong presence on the internet and social networks.

Most-Híd is also relying on former non-voters (5 percent) to boost its result, together with first-time voters and another 19 percent of the votes from other parties. Gyárfášová went on to add that Most-Híd is specific in the sense that it aspires to become a supra-ethnic party, forming a bridge between the Slovak majority and the Hungarian minority communities.

Whatever happens, this election seems set to produce an exciting race to the line, and could very well end up like that of our Czech neighbours.

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