SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Andrej Kiska

INTERESTED in the results of the Slovak presidential elections? Here’s a little Q&A to help you understand what’s actually going on.

INTERESTED in the results of the Slovak presidential elections? Here’s a little Q&A to help you understand what’s actually going on.

What’s going to be Andrej Kiska’s key agenda? No one has any clue. Maybe not even the man himself. He has stirred some controversy by suggesting that Slovakia should recognise an independent Kosovo, he promised not to appoint the notorious Štefan Harabin as head of the Supreme Court and he says he is in favour of registered partnerships for homosexuals. But all of those positions came as answers to questions by journalists. Kiska himself only promises to “work for the people”, unlike the “traditional politicians”. Given the vagueness of those promises and the fact he has no history of public service, it’s tough to say what he will do.

Is this the end of Robert Fico? Although the PM has said that these elections are a referendum on his government, he also made it clear that he will not quit after an eventual loss. The results prove that people don’t want him for president. But in 2016 he may well get another chance to continue as prime minister.

Will victory help the political right? Yes, the victory will give new hope to the opposition. Smer can indeed be defeated. But first, you have to have something that has until now been lacking – a credible alternative. Some hope that Radoslav Procházka will become just that. However, it’s just as possible that his will be just another dwarf party, which will just fragment the political scene further.

Is a conflict between the government and the president inevitable? No. Kiska based his campaign on the criticism of the entire political class, not Fico specifically. He did mention Smer on occasion, especially as the ruling party intensified its attacks on him. But still, his statements against Fico were mild in comparison with your average opposition MP. The PM may have a tough time digesting the defeat, which has embarrassing proportions. But even for him, open confrontation does not make much sense at this point. The new president obviously has wide support. Fighting him will not help Smer’s chances in the 2016 parliamentary vote.

The only certain result of Saturday’s vote is that Fico got crushed. But what exactly that will mean for the country depends on the man that served him this beating – Andrej Kiska.

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