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Slovakia’s far-right party eyes referendum on EU exit

25 June 2016 21:27

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Slovakia’s far right People’s Party has declared it will seek a petition for a referendum on the country’s membership in the European Union, against the backdrop of Britain’s vote to exit the EU.

“Citizens of Great Britain have decided to refuse the diktat from Brussels. It is high time for Slovakia to leave the sinking European ‘Titanic’ as well,” the party said on its website on Saturday.

For a petition to be seen as adequate to launch a referendum, the party should collect 350,000 signatures from the country of 5.4 million. The results of such a referendum would then be binding if the turnout exceeds 50 percent of all eligible voters.

Slovakia, which takes on EU’s rotating six-month presidency in July, is the latest country after the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and France to see demands for referendum on membership of the union. A movement in Italy has also declared plans for a vote on the euro, the EU’s joint currency.

The EU-exit drive has took a swipe after people in Britain voted to leave the 28-nation bloc. The historic vote dealt a huge blow to EU’s ambition of greater unity amid a declining economic situation and the embarrassing burden of refugees. UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation after the vote and he will leave office in October.

Far-right parties in the Netherlands, France and Denmark cheered the results of the British referendum, expressing hope that the victory of “Leave” campaign could boost their eurosceptic agenda.

The People’s Party in Slovakia won a shocking 8 percent of votes in March to enter the parliament for the first time.

Slovakia once held a referendum on joining the EU in 2003 with more than 92 percent voting in favor of membership.

Current opinion polls suggest that if an exit vote is held, 62.1 percent of the voters would choose to remain in the EU and only 22.6 percent would vote for Slovakia to leave.

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