Re: "Robert Fico: If speaking the truth is populism, then I want to be a populist", By Martina Pisárová and Tom Nicholson, Vol. 8 No. 28, July 22-August 4
Yes, Fico sounds reasonable, but the rhetoric he is using reminds me of someone else. Former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar sounded exactly the same in the early 1990's (and fooled many of us then, quite a few permanently). That's how he got so popular - he spoke the language the masses were able to follow, and dealt with easy, black and white, topics, targeting easy 'enemies' - e.g. Czechs, Hungarians, EU demands on nuclear power plants - and 'defending' ordinary people.
I think this is the same reason that Fico is labeled as a populist. He simply is. We all know what power did to Mečiar. I personally don't wish the same to happen all over again. Fico is not a diplomat or a negotiator. How can such a man lead a coalition government towards successful Nato and EU entry? He is right, we need new people in politics, but they have to emerge from the new generation. Fico wore commy colours before 1989, and SDĽ party (basically the same) after. A few years later he's the only bright guy in central Europe? No way. He's neither new, nor smart. I don't trust him.
This is typically him: "We rejected the idea of having the SMK in cabinet because we feared the impact of having a large number of parties in government, and these fears were later confirmed. This cabinet has been unsuccessful, ineffective, and 80 per cent of Slovaks simply don't want it."
The SMK (a Hungarian coalition of three parties) has been the most stable, the most disciplined and the most reliable political partner in the entire government. It was the SDĽ, Fico's mother party, that virtually blocked all economic reforms, placed their corrupted cronies in leading positions in state companies, caused massive abuse of the social welfare system, undermined Slovakia's reputation by openly supporting Russian 'interests'... the list is long.
Blaming the SMK for government ineffectiveness is hypocrisy and populism, and so is blaming Roma for abusing social welfare. It's not only Roma who abuse it, and not only ethnic Hungarians who defend their own interests. Mr. Fico has never come up with more than criticism. And he never will. That's why I'm not going vote for him and his party.
It's deeds that count, Mr. Fico, not words.
5. Aug 2002 at 0:00