The far-right Slovak National Party, led by Žilina mayor Ján Slota, has long been controversial for its racist policies and rhetoric. Sitting at 6.3% support in the last election poll, the SNS has fallen some way from the 14% it received in 1990 elections, but remains a force especially in the north of the country where Slota has fostered a healthy pace of infrastructure development.
The SNS is basically a 'single issue' party, having as its focus the Hungarian minority in Slovakia, but also favors a return of the death penalty, neutrality for Slovakia, the protection of Christian values and a generally anti-western policy. The Slovak Spectator caught up with leader Slota in Bratislava on September 22.
The Slovak Spectator: At your last press conference [September 22] you warned that Slovakia has to be careful after elections because the country might vanish within five years. What were you talking about?
Ján Slota: There are trends towards integration. First, we would see the confederation [of Slovakia] with the Czech Republic.Then some posts in our government would be offered to Hungarians. Just look at Kosovo. That's ridiculous. Anyone who has three cells of grey matter has to see that this is a global process. There is an enormously strong power [Hungarian irredentism] which is pursuing own imperial interests. Hungarians would come to an agreement with the Poles and Slovakia would be left with nothing.
TSS: You have spoken about the integration of nations. On the other hand, you have also dismissed the values of western civilisation and want to follow your own path. Isn't that a paradox?.
JS: You treat us as radicals. My statements are softer than the statements of some leading politicians in France, where national politics are very strong. California has rules that permit education only in the English language . Why is nobody from global society against that? Why? Why does everybody care just about little Slovakia? Everybody is scared that Slovakia will turn the world upside down, that Slovakia will take over the entire globe. Everyone writes about Slovakia. Just leave us alone.
But back to integration. We can't be left out of the integration process, we are in Europe. This is a fact. If I have a head on my shoulders, I can't have it between my legs. We are in Europe. We are for integration but you should respect that national side.
TSS: Aren't your "ideals" rather extremist, antisemitic and racist?
JS: I'm not any '-ist,' - neither marxist nor communist nor fascist nor antisemitic. I'm not. I'm an ordinary Slovak who loves his homeland and his nation. Why is everybody categorizing me? I don't care about Jews, Basques or Britons, everyone has his own problems.
TSS: OK then, lets call your politics 'negativist.'
JS: We are negativist only in saying that parasites have to be eliminated, and parasites are simply those who don't want to work, and the fact that among those people are 95% of all Gypsies is just reality.
TSS: But you said that your latest billboards, which called on people to "vote for a Slovakia without parasites," was also aimed at Hungarians. Was that fair?
JS: Hungarians who consider themselves Hungarians in south Slovakia are really just Slovaks who have been assimilated by Hungary. The ideology of Hungary is very clever. If voters gave us their trust, we would convince them during one year that SNS is here just because we love this nation and the Slovak state, and we are ready to sacrifice ourselves for this state.
People are trying to put down the Slovak nation all the time. That's just a given. We are not open, and we are sensitive when some comissar comes from abroad, some half primitive, because I've been to America, and their low level of education is ridiculous. And these are the people who want to teach us. We should be more self-confident. There is also a language barrier. We have to stop the polarisation of society. The best thing would be to create such a coalition based on such a wide spectrum of parties that everyone would participate in except the communists and the Hungarians. That's how we could create some consensus.
TSS: Do you agree with [SNS vice chairman Viťazoslav] Móric's statements at campaign meetings that all Hungarian schools should be closed down till the end of next year?
JS: That is not true, he probably was exaggerating [Ed. note: at an SNS meeting in Žilina on September 22, Móric repeated the proposal, but without adding a time frame]. We would consider the kind of solution they came to in Caliornia, where all state schools must use the English language. If we did the same in all Slovak state schools, Hungarian schools would disappear. But we are not against the notion that in private schools you can study even the Papua-New Guinean language.
TSS: So the solution is private shools.
JS: If you have the cash, you can start up a private school even in Pygmy language.