Slovakia. A corruption scandal, called the Gorilla
Heritage, dominated the electoral movement ahead of the new
election in March. According to
countryaah, a source within the security service with
the code name Gorilla had recorded a number of conversations
between politicians and financiers a few years earlier.
Before the election, the recordings were published on the
Internet and appeared to show that the then Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda's bourgeois government was involved in
corruption in connection with privatizations.
In February, angry protests were held with thousands of
participants in the capital Bratislava against the revealed
corruption. Protesters threw eggs and bananas at government
offices, and police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
The new election in March had come after the mid-right
government had fallen in the fall before conflict over
Slovakia's contribution to the EU rescue fund. But the
corruption scandal made the election, which was a big loss
for the former government parties. Dzurinda's Conservative
and Christian Democratic SDKU lost almost two-thirds of its
mandates and, with little need, entered Parliament with 6%
of the vote.
The Left Opposition won a convincing victory. Social
Democratic Smer increased sharply and received over 44% of
the vote and own majority with 83 out of 150 seats. The
Christian Democratic Movement and the newly formed
anti-corruption party Ordinary people and independent
personalities both received over 8% and 16 seats.
The Social Democrats had helped vote through the EU
rescue fund against the government announcing early
re-election. EU-friendly S leader Robert Fico, who now
returned as prime minister after two years in opposition,
declared that eurozone Slovakia was obliged to show
solidarity with the rest of the EU. Fico also promised to
safeguard the social protection network by raising the tax
for high-paid workers from 19 to 25%. The government took
office in April, where Smere's ministers were supplemented
by three independents.
Tough decisions were expected to reduce the budget
deficit by 2013 to below the 3% prescribed by the euro zone.
In 2012, the deficit was estimated to be around 4.5%. The
forecast for GDP growth was 2.5%.
In December, the government of Fico fulfilled its
election promise to abolish Slovakia's famous flat tax. The
previous 19% tax was retained for low-income earners, while
the corporate tax was increased to 23% and the high-income
tax to 25%.
A more than hundred-year-old Swedish tradition entered
the tomb when Cloetta decided during the year to move its
manufacture of Läkerol® from Gävle to Levice in Slovakia.
The changeover will be incremental and be completed in 2014.
The union reacted upset and described the closure of the
Läkerolf factory "as moving the whole of Gävle to Slovakia".