On 5 September Volebný Kompas (Election Compass) was launched in a joint effort by the Institute for Democracy at Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica and the European Governance and Politics Programme at EUI. The tool is designed to assist citizens in making an informed choice in the upcoming 2023 Slovak parliamentary elections.
Available in Slovak, Hungarian, and English, Volebný kompas invites users to react to 39 policy statements covering a wide range of contemporary policy issues and political values in Slovak politics. After completing the survey, users can see how their views match the programmes of eleven parties participating in the election that were studied and coded by the project team.
The questions fall into five specific issue blocs: European Union, environment, form of government, multi-level government, and foreign policy. The results, on the other hand, are mapped according to the two central dimensions in the European party systems – the economic left-right and the socio-cultural liberal-conservative.
The Volebný kompas is the first edition of the euandi VAA used for Slovak parliametary election. euandi is a pan-European VAA that was launched by the EUI in 2009. Its most recent edition was in 2019 and attracted more than 1 million users from all over Europe. Since then, the scope of the project has been extended and euandi has been adapted to several national elections that have taken place: 2021 in Germany, 2022 in France, 2022 in Italy, 2023 in Estonia, and now the 2023 Slovak parliamentary snap elections. These national VAA projects serve as important stepping-stones on the way to the next pan-European edition of the online tool in 2024.
In addition to being useful and engaging for voters and parties, the project will provide rich party position and user datasets, which, in turn, will be of great relevance for researchers and practitioners, contributing to the broader aims of the project.
The Volebný kompas is co-directed by Lorenzo Cicchi from the Robert Schuman Centre and Kamila Borseková together with Jozef Michal Mintal from UMB. Professor Kevin Deegan-Krause from Wayne State University in Detroit also joined the team, as a co-director, due to his expertise in Slovak politics. This cooperation was possible thanks to the BRRIDGE project.
The BRRIDGE project brings together Matej Bel University and three of Europe’s leading institutions in higher education: Central European University, European University Institute, and the University Galway. With a focus on enhancing research capabilities in democracy and policy at UMB, BRRIDGE delves into the contemporary challenges for democracy, influenced by shifts in technology, culture, governance, and inequalities. Through this exploration, the project aspires to enrich the democratic landscape in both Slovakia and the broader European context.
Volebný kompas, thanks to a media partnership with leading Slovak news daily DenníkN, had a stellar start, gathering over 100,000 users (in a country of 5.5 million people) in the week of its official launch. It has also received a multitude of positive media attention and incited a wave of sharing and discussion on social networks.