IN SHORT

Fico expects right wing to integrate

SLOVAK Prime Minister and ruling coalition Smer party leader Robert Fico said on January 12 that he expects Slovakia's right-wing opposition parties to integrate, leading to what he called "a standard political situation".

"Smer is the only party that has been able to integrate several political parties in recent years, so I expect a similar development on the right, leading to a standard political situation. The leftist parties have contributed to this process of standardisation. Now the Left is asking rightist politicians how they plan to contribute to standardisation," Fico said in an interview with the TASR state news wire on January 12.

Fico said he regards the right-wing parties and their neo-liberal leaders as his main rivals, but that he is ready to listen to their expert opinions. He rejects any debate on ethics or morals with the right, however.

According to Fico, the right-wing parties are not entitled to talk about morals following the corruption scandals under the previous right-wing government. "I respect the right, and I'm interested in its opinion. I want the left and right to engage with each other," he said.

The PM said that he doesn't regard his coalition partners - the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS) and the inscrutable Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) - as leftist parties.

"The HZDS is trying to join the European People's Party faction in the European Parliament, while the SNS has said clearly that it is oriented towards national traditions and principles," Fico said.

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