Slovakia. A corruption scandal, called the Gorilla Heritage, dominated the electoral movement ahead of the new election in March. 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.
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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”.
According to countryaah, the population of Slovakia in 2012 was 5,435,500, ranking number 117 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.120% yearly, and the population density was 113.0347 people per km2.