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SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Mitt Obama

WHILE the Czech Republic is often described as the 17th German Bundesland, you’d think Slovakia was the 51st US state. At least judging by local politicians’ readiness to endorse a presidential candidate.

WHILE the Czech Republic is often described as the 17th German Bundesland, you’d think Slovakia was the 51st US state. At least judging by local politicians’ readiness to endorse a presidential candidate.

“I’d vote for Mitt Romney. He has the same approach to solving the economic crisis as New Majority,” said that party’s leader, Daniel Lipšic. SDKÚ chairman Pavol Frešo felt that the GOP candidate’s values were “close to his own”, while the Christian Democrats’ boss Ján Figeľ appreciated traditional Republican support for the role of the family, and Richard Sulík of SaS praised Romney because he wouldn’t run-up as much debt as the incumbent.

Most-Híd was the only party to throw its support behind Barack Obama. Igor Matovič, leader of the Ordinary People, once again proved that his is no ordinary mind: “I’d like to vote for Mitt Obama. On ethical issues I like Romney, when it comes to social ones, I’m for Obama.” Only Prime Minister Robert Fico was boring enough to say that it’s up to the American voters to decide.

There are several lessons to be learned from this. Firstly, you really have to feel sorry for the right – these people can’t win a political fight even if they’re just watching. Secondly, it shows how confusing the local scene can get. You’d think that the liberal SaS, which has just ended an unsuccessful struggle to legalise gay partnerships (it’s tough getting something passed when half of your own caucus doesn’t show-up for the vote) and which fights for the decriminalisation of marijuana, would see an ally in Obama. Not so.

And thirdly, one has to wonder about current political alliances. Most-Híd has been speaking-up for the right of bicyclists to drink and drive. Otherwise, they have been rather quiet in recent months. Now comes a position which is daringly independent. Party chairman Béla Bugár says that he likes Obama, because “he tries to solve the problems of people who can not get out of a tough situation by themselves”. Given that Frešo and Figeľ see themselves in Romney, you almost have to wonder whether the newly formed ‘People’s Platform’, made up of the SDKÚ, KDH, and Most-Híd, shouldn’t have a little chat about what exactly it is that they have in common. Other than that they, too, are in a “tough situation” and can’t get out of it alone. Perhaps Fico’s latent Obamism would be a better match for Most-Híd?

Seeing all the benefits a foreign campaign can bring to Slovakia, it seems a shame the vote is over. Luckily, the Czech presidential elections are just around the corner.

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