Local elections guide for foreigners: Episode 6

Economics and politics

Local elections guide for foreigners: Episode 6

29. 10. 2018 14:54

On the 10th of November, local elections are to be held in Slovakia, and foreigners who are older than 18 and have permanent residency in Slovakia can vote too. In the past month we have brought you information on how to cast your ballot and what the plans of Bratislava's mayoral candidates are. You can find this on our webpage www.rsi.sk in the Politics section.

In this last episode of our guide we take a look at what candidates have in store when it comes to culture in Bratislava including well, multiculturalism. Although at least 18,810 foreigners can cast their ballot in the upcoming elections in Bratislava only the borough of Záhorská Bystrica has been offering some basic information about elections on its webpage in foreign languages namely English, German and Italian. The incumbent mayor Jozef Krupa explains.

"We have been using Google to translate our webpage because we have twinning projects with localities from Austria and Italy and English is a world language. It is free of charge, the quality is not the best but it helps our foreigners too. We have not noticed any language barriers in the communication with the town hall, we are a small borough and in case somebody needs some help with a specific question we find somebody to speak a foreign language in the office. "

Stare Mesto, one of the boroughs that has the biggest number of foreign voters about 3,771 replied that as Slovak is the official language in this country all the information linked to elections are provided in Slovak only. A similar argument came from the borough of Karlova Ves, which also has a significant number of foreigners eligible to vote.

What about the candidates? At a debate organised last week under the Café Europa banner the incumbent Ivo Nesrovnal promised to launch a multilingual webpage for city hall that would care for the current needs of foreigners residing in the city too, not only providing information for tourists. Matúš Vallo has met with foreigners residing in Bratislava and promised to improve the way in which city hall communicates with them, as well as discuss the situation of the office of the Foreign Police with the representatives of the Interior Ministry. When asked about the new office of the Foreign Police department, which is located in the borough whose mayor happens to be Ján Mrva, hereplied it is not in his competency and he thinks foreigners are quite integrated in Bratislava based on his personal meeting with some Frenchmen who spoke Slovak nicely. Vaclav Mika has met a few foreigners but does not have any special plans or promises for them. The rest of the candidates do not have have the subject of foreigners' integration in their programmes.

Now back to culture in the city. The incumbent mayor Ivo Nesrovnal, a lawyer by profession, says that under his leadership the amount of funds allocated from the city's budget to galleries, museums, public libraries, pools and the zoo which are in its portfolio has increased. If re-elected he wants to continue on this path. He adds that reconstruction works have been done on Bratislava castle, the Primacialny palace, and Devin castle. Nesrovnal wants to increase the funds allocated for culture projects proposed by the inhabitants and to establish a permanent scene for the Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav Municipal Theater.

Matúš Vallo, an architect by profession, wants Bratislava to be a multicultural city which creates space for everybody to express themselves. The city needs to set up a strategy on how to support culture and a modern and efficient grant scheme to finance various projects. It should support the so called creative industries and informal creative communities. The city hall should re-assign unused buildings in its property to host culture events.

The history of the city is very important for Ján Mrva, who is currently the mayor of the Bratislava borough of Vajnory and a surveyor and cartographer by profession. That's why he wants to reconstruct historical buildings and focus on attracting tourists with a deeper interest in culture. If elected mayor, Mrva will create a new regular grant scheme for volunteer projects by the city's inhabitants who want to improve the life in their neighborhood via sports and cultural activities. He promises to build a new multifunctional sports hall and a new public swimming pool.

Vaclav Mika, the former general manager of Slovak public radio and television and an economist by training, wants to support creative industries too by offering low rent spaces to artists and designers. Mika plans to build a new PKO- a cultural multifunctional building- by 2020, reopen the amphitheatre near the Devin castle, connect art schools with the business sector, and develop educational paths for both locals and tourists as well as an open air museum of the Iron Curtain.

Iveta Plšeková, Bratislava's current deputy mayor and a GP by profession, wants to build a new concert hall with at least 2,000 seats and spaces for dancers to train and perform as she believes dancing is a favourite hobby for Bratislava's inhabitants. She also promises to support a map of cultural monuments and invest in their maintenance, support art schools, invest in the deposits of city's galleries and museums and the Červený rak lecture space.

Entrepreneur Viktor Bereš wants to build public sport facilities including an Aquapark.

Miroslav Vetrík, a teacher, wants to support cultural events that strengthen the relationship of inhabitants with the city. Children and students should have free of charge access to museums and galleries in city's portfolio while the rest of permanent residents should benefit from a 50 percent discount. He will take steps to restore the amphitheater in Devin and create a fund to promote urban cultural heritage, restore and reconstruct it.

Roman Ruhig, an entrepreneur, wants to support cultural and sport activities and plans to set up a strategy in this respect. He plans to encourage the general public, to return to traditional cultural values such as dances, singing, music, acting, as well as craftsmanship in traditional crafts.

We could not find what candidates Jaroslav Brada and Andrej Trnovec's plans are on the topic discussed today.

Anca Dragu, Photo: TASR

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