The course and results of the presidential elections in Slovakia in 2009 created an impression as if the country was torn asunder in terms of electoral behaviour, into a broader northern stripe and a narrower southern stripe that also included the capital of Bratislava and the East Slovak metropolis of Košice.
The principal focus of this study is electoral behaviour of citizens who live in southern Slovakia, particularly those of Slovak origin. When examining the connection between national populism and Slovak–Hungarian relations, our basic hypothesis was that the key to both issues lay in southern Slovakia. Its essence is to define a mutually acceptable model of both communities’ coexistence in situations when ethnic Hungarians form a minority (be it on the national, regional or local level) as well as in situations when they form a numerical majority (be it on the micro-regional or local level).
A substantially lower support for the national-populist bloc among Slovak voters from the south compared to those from the north seems to corroborate the hypothesis on peaceful coexistence of Slovaks and ethnic Hungarians in southern Slovakia that is only disturbed by politicians’ insensitive interventions from above; however, if electoral behaviour of Slovaks from the south and from the north failed to show marked differences, it would imply a necessity to revise many elements of minority policy pursued by the government as well as by relevant political parties (both majority and minority ones). The point is that in such a case, critical masses of two electorate segments that are diametrically different in terms of professed values would inevitably clash in southern Slovakia; needless to say, none of these two segments would ever be completely satisfied with their status.