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SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Svätci

ALL SAINTS Day is just around the corner. Slovaks increasingly wish to have “saintly peace” (svätý pokoj) and not be bothered by endless political hassles. Voters of the right stand bemused like a “saint behind the village” (svätý za dedinou), not having a clue whom to support in the upcoming early elections since their camp absurdly opened the door for the return of Robert Fico. It’s likely “even a saint couldn’t help”.

Many candles are lit for deceased relatives on All Saints Day, November 1. (Source: SME)

ALL SAINTS Day is just around the corner. Slovaks increasingly wish to have “saintly peace” (svätý pokoj) and not be bothered by endless political hassles. Voters of the right stand bemused like a “saint behind the village” (svätý za dedinou), not having a clue whom to support in the upcoming early elections since their camp absurdly opened the door for the return of Robert Fico. It’s likely “even a saint couldn’t help”.

But these are not the main reasons why svätci (saints) are this week’s top word. No, it’s Mikuláš Dzurinda’s recent statement: “I’m not sure whether politics is for saints.”

It’s always been clear the former prime minister isn’t one. His Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) party has been involved in innumerable corruption scandals. It has struggled to explain questions about the party’s past financing. The Christian Democrats blame him for nearly ruining their party in a hostile take-over attempt.

The voters take notice and reward Dzurinda with virtually no support in polls. Yet he is back and will likely emerge from the elections as leader of the opposition – or a third-time prime minister.

The simple explanation is that SDKÚ voters are not looking for a leader. They are looking for a pro-reform agenda and a competent ballot list. And the party is known for delivering both. Iveta Radičová was just one of many faces Dzurinda was able to bring into politics over the years. And the only one that came close to dethroning him. But now she is gone.

Her fans say it is because she was too saintly for Slovak politics and some add that Dzurinda’s evil schemes helped her fall. Others claim that Radičová just wasn’t right for the job and Dzurinda is just using the opportunity. It is still too early to know the full history of the last year and a half.

But both Radičová’s almost miraculous ascent to the prime minister’s seat and Dzurinda’s quick return into the middle of the action prove that there really is something to the old Slovak proverb: “Help yourself and God will help you too.”


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