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EDITORIAL

On the Antichrist, greenhorns and Fico

“IF THE ANTICHRIST entered the second round, the right-wing would support him,” said presidential candidate Robert Fico shortly after he learned that it is actually philanthropist Andrej Kiska who might prevent him from moving from the prime minister’s office to the presidential palace when the presidential election’s second round takes place on March 29. If the voters are to believe everything that Fico has said about Kiska since he reloaded his campaign, they might actually get the impression that Fico’s challenger really is the devil.

“IF THE ANTICHRIST entered the second round, the right-wing would support him,” said presidential candidate Robert Fico shortly after he learned that it is actually philanthropist Andrej Kiska who might prevent him from moving from the prime minister’s office to the presidential palace when the presidential election’s second round takes place on March 29. If the voters are to believe everything that Fico has said about Kiska since he reloaded his campaign, they might actually get the impression that Fico’s challenger really is the devil.

An inexperienced Scientologist with dangerous foreign policy views, who made a fortune through usury and by pushing people into poverty, is now posing a security risk to Slovakia. This is how Fico wants voters to picture Kiska.

Kiska will never offer brisk foreign policy insights to the media and audiences are unlikely to ever bathe in his philosophical depth or wit. If he gets on a bus some people might not even notice him and he is unlikely to have the numbers of influential politicians saved in his phone. But one does get a phone number or two when they get the top job.

Perhaps it would be useful to take a look at how Fico has been using his political experience over the past decade. He got his party Smer suspended from the Party of European Socialists (PES) in 2006 for forming a government with the ill-reputed Slovak National Party and its thuggish boss Ján Slota. In the same move he brought back to power Vladimír Mečiar, Slovakia’s three-time prime minister whose authoritarian tendencies in the mid-1990s pushed Slovakia to the verge of international isolation.

This was a man so notorious that the wild era of privatisation, corruption and abuse of intelligence services has simply been given the name ‘Mečiarism’. Fico also brought along the current boss of the Supreme Court, Štefan Harabin, who has contributed massively to the critical state of Slovakia’s judiciary. One did not need a doctorate in political science to figure out that elevating Slota and Mečiar to power would bring no benefits to Slovakia, except that of securing Fico the power he craved so much.

Fico’s 2006-2010 government of “experienced” leaders blessed Slovakia with some of the its most textbook examples of cronyism and corruption. Fico back then was no greenhorn in politics, but obviously a novice in political ethics, and if judged by the way he runs his presidential campaign, one might easily conclude that he has not advanced much in this field.

This is not to say that the lack of experience is a virtue in itself. Over the past couple years a bunch of “new faces” have entered politics and began treating it as an extreme sport, eventually bringing down the best government this country has ever had.

Would it be better for Slovakia to have a politically experienced man (or woman) of virtue blessed with the skills of an orator and the wit of a philosopher? Of course it would. But at this point it is clear that this is not what the country will get. Yes, some people in Slovakia will once again feel that they are following the lesser of two evils vote, but Fico and his dirty campaign provide many reasons for why they still should.

It is not only about the person of Fico, it is more about the fact that having one party controlling the government, parliament and the presidency is unhealthy and might cause more damage than a flock of greenhorns trying to figure out the presidential protocol or busily updating their phonebook.

“The president will shortly become a substantially more important political figure than the prime minister,” said Fico on March 20, sending chills down the spine of all those who fear that once Fico is elected president, he would change the definition of the presidency and adjust the office to his own power hungry needs.

By failing to be elected, Fico would have more to lose than Kiska, and Fico is well aware of that. His vicious campaign doubtlessly shows this. The prime minister’s campaign machinery will keep pouring out stories about Scientologists, greenhorns, usurers and security risks, a clear indicator of how badly Fico wants to be the president. It’s not surprising that he has yet to really give a satisfying answer as to why.

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