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  Slovak parliament bans opinion polls 50 days before elections
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Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Jan 12, 2020 04:35pm
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AuthorEuractiv with Reuters
News DateTuesday, October 29, 2019 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionSlovakia’s ruling leftist Smer party pushed a bill through parliament on Monday (28 October) extending a ban on opinion polls to 50 days before elections, one of the longest periods in the world.

The move, coming before a planned election next February, has drawn strong criticism from opposition parties and political experts who view it as an attempt to silence challengers from new parties.

Slovakia, like other countries in Europe, has seen a rise in new parties in recent years. Most notably, newcomer activist lawyer Zuzana Čaputová defeated Smer’s preferred candidate in a presidential runoff in March.

The new bill was backed by Smer and one of its two ruling coalition partners, the centre-right Slovak National Party (SNS), as well as opposition far-right People’s Party-Our Slovakia.

It will extend the ban on publishing polls from 14 days, which was already the second longest ban of pre-election poll releases in Europe. Among others in the world, only Cameroon and Tunisia have a longer blackout period.

The bill’s authors, from Smer and SNS, said they aimed to protect voters from disinformation so they can base their decisions on the parties’ programmes and activities.

“Political parties use opinion polls to influence public opinions, confusing voters,” the bill said.
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