THE WAITING is finally over and we now know that Robert Fico is Pripravený pre Slovensko (Prepared for Slovakia). But the Prime Minister’s election slogan for the upcoming presidential campaign still leaves two question open – why does he want to run in the first place? And what should we be getting ready for?
Rarely is such a big political decision surrounded by so much uncertainty. Until now, the prime minister’s office has been the place where the greatest power is concentrated (with the one exception being Iveta Radičová’s cabinet that fell apart after a year and a half exactly because she did not have sufficient political clout). It is therefore not easy to understand why a man at the top of his career and political strength would want to give it up to become Slovakia’s president, which until now has performed mainly ceremonial and representational tasks. Especially when polls show that even many of Fico’s own supporters want him to stay where he is.
Yes, he may be tired. Yes, he may be trying to prolong his career, which can take a steep dive as long as he has actual responsibilities. And yes, he may try to twist the system to give the head of state more powers. But still, even for a man of his experience, all this is a leap into the unknown, with few clear benefits.
But the more important riddle is: what will Fico’s candidacy and eventual success mean for the rest of us. And what to wish for – whether you like Smer or hate it. Fico’s victory may help the party take complete control over the country. But it may also cause tensions within its various factions and upset voters, most of whom are fixated on Fico personally. A loss would certainly be a huge blow to the Prime Minister. But a victory would mean more stability for Smer in the immediate future and near certainty that Fico will remain the head of government at least until 2020.
In any case, interesting times are ahead. Get a good rest during the holidays – and be prepared!
19. Dec 2013 at 0:00 | Lukáš Fila