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.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Provides most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for Slovakia. Also includes location map, major cities, and country overview.
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.
The current Slovak Republic has long remained an underdeveloped region, with individual income levels and material living conditions significantly lower than those of Bohemia and Moravia. Beginning in 1945, Slovak economic development was regarded as one of the fundamental conditions for the consolidation of Czechoslovak unity. But the work of modernizing the economy wanted by the communist regime was held back by the periphery of the region and the scarce availability of resources. Modest coal and lignite deposits are found near the Moravian border and in the Slovak Ore Mountains, where iron, copper, lead, zinc and mercury are also mined. However, the proximity of Silesia (Ostrava) making the supply of hard coal and coke easier, allowed Košice to plant steel plants, which quickly became the only industrial activity in expansion, relegating the other vocations and economic potential of the region to the background. At the time of separation from the Czech Republic, Slovakia was therefore in a disadvantaged position both for the lack of energy and mineral resources and for the poverty of agriculture and the backwardness of industrial technology. After an initial phase, in which the reforms launched by the first post-communist government had negative repercussions on the economic trend (high unemployment, high inflation), the first signs of recovery appeared during 1994, thanks also to the relaunch of the privatization program for which the share of the private sector in the national product has gone from 20% in 1990 to over 40%. In the second half of the 1990s, Slovakia therefore continued the difficult transition from a planned economy to a modern market economy, carrying out the conversion of an obsolete industrial apparatus and the privatization of strategic sectors for the development of the economy. As in the other Eastern European countries, urgent flows of foreign investments were used, attracted by the low cost of labor and the creation of special economic zones with a favorable tax regime, which were concentrated in the mechanical and electronic sectors. and in banking services. The economic successes achieved (sustained GDP growth, drastic reduction of the budget deficit) allowed the country to join the EU in 2004 and the euro area in 2009, although the social costs (high unemployment rate, strong welfare reduction) proved to be high.
● Agriculture (which in 2008 occupied 4% of the active population and participated in GDP for 3.7%) passed in the early 1990s from the state management of the communist period to privatization. The main agricultural products are wheat, barley, corn, potatoes and sugar beet, grown in the fertile lands of the western Slovakia Great importance has the pig and bovine breeding.
● The secondary sector remains very important, both in terms of employment (39% of the active population) and in terms of contribution to GDP (37.2%): the main specializations are made up of metalworking (production of cars and components), electronics, food, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles; the arms sector, after the collapse recorded in the first years of the post-communist period, has partially recovered, turning to exports.
● Tertiary activities (56.9% of the active population and 59% of GDP) recorded strong growth in the transition to the market economy. Tourism presents good development prospects, which can count on attractions such as the ski areas of the High and Low Tatras, spas and the historical-artistic heritage of cities such as Bratislava, Košice, Nitra, Bardejov.
● Regarding foreign trade, the trade balance reached in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century. a substantial breakeven, due to the growth in exports of manufacturing industry products. The main trading partners are represented by Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, Hungary, Italy and Austria. At the end of the 1990s, Slovakia reached the goal of energy self-sufficiency, mainly thanks to the contribution of the new nuclear power plant in Mochovce (1998).
● The transport system, which benefited from EU funds to upgrade the infrastructure of the new member countries, developed significantly during the first decade of the 21st century. In particular, the road network was upgraded (43,761 km in 2008) and the railway network modernized (3,622 km). Extension and modernization interventions were also carried out at the main airports.