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Slovakia: OSCE Concerned About Elections

Munich, 24 July 1998 (RFE/RL) -- The Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) says it has major concerns about the conditions for political campaigning in Slovakia in the run-up to the September parliamentary elections.

A spokesman for the OSCE election-monitoring body, the Office for Democratic Institutions, says there is particular concern over the restrictions on election campaigning on private and local electronic media.

Another area of concern is the requirement for a five percent threshold for all parties contesting the election, even if they belong to a coalition.

The OSCE spokesman said that this, along with some other provisions of the law, "has forced a substantial part of the opposition to restructure itself within a very short time frame, and under complex and sometimes vague administration procedures."

OSCE also stressed the importance of allowing politically non-partisan domestic observers to take part in the monitoring of all stages of the election process. OSCE said this was important for the transparency and integrity of the election process.

OSCE's office for democratic institutions will establish an election-monitoring mission in Slovakia in August. It will monitor all aspects of the election campaign, including access to the media by all parties. The mission will be led by a Norwegian, Kare Vollan.