Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Smer - Choose order and a decent life

photo: TASR

The Smer non-parliamentary party was founded in 2000 by Robert Fico, a former senior member of the reformed communist Democratic Left Party (SDĽ). Ostensibly left-of centre, the party favours a strong state and promotes a law-and-order platform with overtones of ethnic Slovak nationalism.

It is supported largely by younger and first-time voters, and has consistently run second to Vladimír Mečiar's HZDS, although recent polls indicate it may even have overtaken its opposition rival. Smer is expected to play a major role in the next government, and Fico has already laid down five conditions for a future cabinet if he became prime minister.

Smer's 2002 election programme includes:

* passing a law requiring people to prove the origin of their assets if asked to do so by the Attorney General
* reducing unemployment and public spending
* eliminating regional state offices and some district state offices
* completing freeway construction by 2014 (353 km of road)
* reducing the size of the cabinet and the number of ministries
* reducing the age floor for criminal responsibility to 14 years
* reducing abuse of unemployment benefits

Robert Fico, who will turn 38 this month, was born on September 15, 1964 in west Slovakia's Topoľčany. In 1986 he graduated at the Law Faculty of Comenius University in Bratislava. Between 1987 and 1994 he worked at the Justice Ministry Law Institute, between 1991 and 1994 serving as its deputy director.

In 1992 he became a parliamentary deputy for the SDĽ. In 1998 he was elected SDĽ deputy chairman, but left the party in 1999 first to work as an independent MP and later to found Smer.

Fico represented Slovakia as an attorney at the European Commission for Human Rights and the European Court for Human Rights between 1994 and 1998, and was a member of the permanent delegation of the Slovak Parliament at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Robert Fico is married and has one child.

Prepared by Tom Nicholson from press reports and own research.

Top stories

Námestie Slobody gets facelift Photo

The architectural tender will gather ideas for the redesign of the biggest square in Bratislava

Námestie Slobody will be redesigned into a kind of living room in the city.

When the state can’t keep a secret

A selective leak has tarnished President Kiska’s reputation. But he must continue to speak out about corruption.

President Andrej Kiska

Fundamental values explored at Divadelná Nitra 2017

This time round, the Slovak, European and US ensembles at the theatre festival focus on #fundamentals, i.e. basic values and the essence of all things.

Nature Theatre of Oklahoma: Pursuit of Happiness

Foreign rocket engines for North Korea: Why?

For Russia, the path to a weakened China could be through a major nuclear accident in North Korea.