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EUobserver / Slovakia struggles to avoid lowest EU vote turn-out again

EUOBSERVER / BRATISLAVA - An African-born singer, a fitness trainer and an ex-hockey star MEP are trying to scoop Slovak votes in the upcoming elections, while officials struggle to prevent a repeat of 2004, when Slovakia had the lowest turn-out ever recorded in the EU assembly's history.

"Many Slovaks know me as a comedian but they do not know that I speak six languages and graduated from university," is Ibrahim Maiga's reply to widespread incredulity over his election bid with a minor, left-wing party.

Voting: does optimism or cynicism motivate Slovak absentees?

Now a Slovak citizen commonly known as "Ibi," he was born in Mali and came to the former Czechoslovakia in the late 1980s as a university student, before quickly becoming famous as a singer and actor.

Ibi says that if he is elected, Slovakia - often criticised in Brussels for its testy relations with Hungary and its treatment of Hungarian and Roma minorities - would prove "its citizens are neither nationalists nor racists."

by Fran on Fri May 15th, 2009 at 11:54:55 AM EST
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