Bratislava, November 14 (TASR) – MPs Stanislav Kubanek and Peter Chudik (both Smer-SD) should give up their seats because they gained them in a fraudulent manner, former government proxy for Roma communities Peter Pollak (OLaNO-NOVA) told a news conference at the parliamentary building on Monday.
“I call on the MPs who gained their votes in this way to give up their mandates, as they obtained them illegally,” stressed Pollak in reference to information brought by public service broadcaster RTVS concerning alleged vote buying among the Roma to the benefit of the two MPs.
According to OLaNO-NOVA, the buying of Roma votes didn’t take place solely in the village of Lomnicka (Presov region) as reported. Party leader Igor Matovic also mentioned the village of Rakusy (Presov region). The village has been divided into two parts, with one half inhabited by Roma citizens and the other half by non-Roma. Premier and Smer-SD party leader Robert Fico (Smer-SD) posted an overwhelming victory in terms of preferential votes in the non-Roma area, while Kubanek and Chudik significantly lagged behind. Nevertheless, in the Roma-inhabited area they gained many more votes than Fico. “This evidently attests to the buying of Roma votes,” said Matovic.
[Voters can mark the names of up to four candidates on a party slate, thereby allowing certain candidates to leapfrog others on the list. – ed. note]
OLaNO-NOVA finds information on the buying of Roma votes in Lomnicka published by RTVS to represent something new. “Such an unambiguous case of vote buying has never been published in Slovakia before, and there are many witnesses willing to testify,” said Pollak.
Pollak noted that although vote buying has been an issue in Slovakia for a long time, nobody has yet been imprisoned for it. “Somebody is misusing Roma ignorance to gain political power,” stated Pollak, urging the Roma not to sell their votes. As a member of the State Electoral Commission, he wants to provoke a discussion on how to prevent the buying of Roma votes in the future.
RTVS reported on allegations of vote buying in Roma settlements some time ago. A new witness added to these allegations for RTVS’s TV service a few days ago. Smer-SD MPs Stanislav Kubanek and Peter Chudik were named.
The police initially launched an investigation into the crime of election corruption, but then halted it. According to an investigator’s report available to RTVS, seven Roma citizens confessed that they sold their votes for a packet of cigarettes each. They also named a person who was reportedly buying votes for the MPs. The investigator saw contradictions in their testimonies, so he confronted the Roma with the person who reportedly bribed them. All seven Roma subsequently claimed that they were lying in their initial testimony and that they made the information up.