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Foreign media react to Slovak extremist’s election success

SEVERAL media in Europe and beyond have reported on the election of far-right extremist Marian Kotleba as the head of the Banska Bystrica self-governing region.

SEVERAL media in Europe and beyond have reported on the election of far-right extremist Marian Kotleba as the head of the Banska Bystrica self-governing region.

The Czech news server iDNES.cz noted that Kotleba’s election has provoked an outcry in Slovakia. They quoted the defeated candidate, incumbent Vladimír Maňka, as saying that Kotleba’s results would be the same in any region of Slovakia, perhaps with the exception of Bratislava, the TASR newswire reported.

Czech commentator Luboš Palata called Kotleba a “Nazi” when commenting on the event.

“Marian Kotleba is not a substitute for [former leader of the Slovak National Party] Ján Slota,” Palata wrote, as quoted by TASR. “It is much worse than that. While Slota was sometimes ridiculous, sometimes stupid and at times a disgustingly offensive nationalist, Marian Kotleba … is a full-blooded nationalist.”

Another Czech news portal, novinky.cz, quoted the leader of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), Pavol Frešo, who won the run-off in Bratislava, as saying that “the victory of Kotleba is a defeat for democracy in Slovakia. Democratic parties now ought to unite their forces and face extremism.”

The public service Czech Television wrote on its website that Kotleba was definitely expected to lose the run-off.

“If the second place for Kotleba in the first round of regional elections 14 days ago was a surprise, his victory in the second round came as a shock to Slovakia,” they wrote, as quoted by TASR.

The German daily Welt wrote that the regional elections saw the surprising victory of “a Slovak rightist extremist, known to the police, Marian Kotleba”, whose party speaks up against “criminal Gypsies” and operates on the fringe of the law, TASR reported.

The Austrian daily Standard reported that the ruling Smer party is the clear winner of the elections in six out of eight regions, while the rightist conservative opposition won in Bratislava.

“The elections were however overshadowed by the success of rightist extremist Marian Kotleba in Banská Bystrica,” the Standard wrote, as quoted by TASR, adding that political scientists believed that Kotleba’s chances of succeeding in the election’s second round were thin.

Beyond Europe, the ABC News and the Washington Post cited the AP newswire, which wrote “a Slovak neo-Nazi, whose party says NATO is a terrorist organization and wants the country to abandon Europe's common currency, has won a regional election”.

Source: TASR, ABC news, Washington Post

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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