February 26. 2024. 6:04

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To raise turnout, former Slovak PM proposes €500 per voter

Each citizen voting in September’s snap elections should be paid €500, according to a proposal put forward by the leader of the strongest party in the National Council OĽaNO who wants an increase in turnout and to stop the opposition from taking power.

The main reason for the proposal, according to Matovič, is the fear that few voters will turn out for the early elections. “We are afraid that the next elections will have the lowest turnout in history,” Matovič said.

“We are realistically afraid that Slovakia may experience in the next elections what they experienced in Germany in the 1930s after the economic crisis,” he explained, adding that €500 for every voter may be the way to save democracy.

Matovič fears that if opposition parties, namely Hlas-SD and Smer-SD, take power, they will turn Slovakia into an Orbán-like regime.

Snap parliamentary elections will take place on 30 September.

According to Matovič’s proposal, a contribution of €500 would be given to every legally valid voter who comes out to vote in the 2023 election and would not be valid for other, future votes.

When asked about how he came up with the total where he plans to find the approximately €1.5 billion needed to cover the cost of the initiative, Matovič said there is just a fraction of the money Peter Pellegrini and Robert Fico, leaders of Hlas-SD and Smer-SD, would embezzle.

“Fico and Pellegrini are able to steal this amount in six months,” he said. “It is an investment into Slovakia”.

Matovič’s closest ally in government Boris Kollár (We are Family) said that if Matovič finds the money that would cover expenses, he would vote for the proposal. Hlas-SD rejected the idea, with Pellegrini claiming the proposal is “nonsense that exists nowhere in the world”.

Meanwhile, Matovič argues motivation for voters, albeit in different forms, also exists in Greece and Switzerland.

In recent weeks, the Slovak parliament passed several other bills worth hundreds of millions without clear coverage, such as free lunches for children in schools or pension increases.

(Michal Hudec | EURACTIV.sk)