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SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Nová pravica

ON THE vocabulary front, the opposition is beating Smer big time. Just in the last year, the right has contributed an entire chapter to the dictionary of Slovak politics. There is Nová Väčšina (New Majority), whose novelty seems to lie mainly in the fact that it is not a majority at all. In fact, even after including Daniel Lipšic’s name in the official name of the party, it gets around 5 percent in the polls. Former Christian Democrat Radoslav Procházka founded Alfa, an NGO likely to turn into a political party. Lucia Žitňanská and Miroslav Beblavý remain in the SDKÚ, but have their own Tvoríme Slovensko (We Are Creating Slovakia), which is at this point only an informal platform. And the SaS renegades led by Jozef Kollár now have an organisation of their own – Liberálna Dohoda (Liberal Agreement).

ON THE vocabulary front, the opposition is beating Smer big time. Just in the last year, the right has contributed an entire chapter to the dictionary of Slovak politics. There is Nová Väčšina (New Majority), whose novelty seems to lie mainly in the fact that it is not a majority at all. In fact, even after including Daniel Lipšic’s name in the official name of the party, it gets around 5 percent in the polls. Former Christian Democrat Radoslav Procházka founded Alfa, an NGO likely to turn into a political party. Lucia Žitňanská and Miroslav Beblavý remain in the SDKÚ, but have their own Tvoríme Slovensko (We Are Creating Slovakia), which is at this point only an informal platform. And the SaS renegades led by Jozef Kollár now have an organisation of their own – Liberálna Dohoda (Liberal Agreement).

There is now even a meta-term to describe the opposition rookies – the New Right (Nová Pravica). And if there is one thing it should learn from the old right (the Christian Democrats, Most-Híd and the SDKÚ), it is the ability to reach an agreement. Mikuláš Dzurinda’s governments, which ran the country from 1998 to 2006, may have had their share of flaws, but in the end they muddled through somehow. SaS broke this tradition in 2010, when it let Iveta Radičová’s government fall in a vote of confidence. That opened a new era of radical conflict within the entire right, which has led to a series of break-ups within existing parties.

There are broadly two theories about what should happen if the opposition is to ever rule again. The first says that a natural leader will emerge eventually. But there is no indication of that happening – six right-wing parties now have between 5 and 10 percent in the polls. And there is no obvious reason why that should change. The other says that everything is just fine the way it is and that any number of parties can get together to form a coalition after elections, just like in Dzurinda’s days. The problem is that the year and a half of Radičová’s government showed that that model no longer works, and relationships have since only gotten worse.

Plus there is no unifying agenda to keep together a mix of factions and parties, some of which call themselves “knights” and demand a state-guaranteed right to work, some that dream of legalising weed and gay marriage, others that want to dismantle the entire social security system, and finally a bunch whose main goals are to ban porn at the news-stands and set quotas for Slovak songs on the radio. Under these conditions, putting together a joint manifesto can be a real scrabble.

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