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What we won’t see this election year

Rarely has a Slovak parliamentary election been less interesting. 

Illustrative stock photo(Source: Sme)

The 2016 ballot, barring a miracle, will bring another Smer government a year from now, probably one supported by the opposition Christian Democrats (with the far-right Slovak National Party waiting in the wings if KDH boss Ján Figeľ hesitates). In pursuit of his third term, Prime Minister Robert Fico will spend the year handing out further gifts to the Smer electorate and – in the risible “battle” against corruption – will continue to exercise inscrutable logic as to whom of his flock he can sacrifice (e.g. a wife-beating MP from Prievidza) and who is off limits (his entrepreneurial Economy Minister). Yawn.

What makes this pre-election year interesting is not what will happen, but everything that will not. All of which begs the question – why the hell won’t it?

We won’t see any effort to address the looming problem of how the country will afford to pay pensions to Slovakia’s graying population. Nor will we see any relief in the government’s ongoing tax war on small entrepreneurs. There will be no significant improvement in the two-thirds success rate in drawing EU funds from the original maximum of €11.5 billion. Young Slovaks working abroad will not return home.

For the fourth year in a row there will be no results in the ongoing investigation of the Gorilla scandal, with the possible exception of the entry of Italian investor Enel into the Slovenské Elektrárne utility (police raided Enel and SE last December for the second time in five months, looking for documents related to the 2006 privatization). Nor will the police make any headway investigating VAT fraud that implicates Smer politicians and oligarchs. No significant charges will be brought against the Takáč and Jakšík organized crime groups (whose SBS, A-Team, guarded Smer headquarters on election night 2006), unlike the remarkably successful campaigns against the Sýkora and Piťo groups.

Not to be outdone by the government’s inactivity, the opposition will also do nothing to give voters a reasonable alternative. No hatchets will be buried, and no one will sacrifice ego and ambition in the service of the greater good. No one will offer any explanation as to why the 2010 to 2012 Iveta Radičová government aimed to sell the same strategic companies, under the same discredited FNM boss, that featured in Gorilla.

Radoslav Procházka will not fully explain his Sieť party’s funding, and Ordinary People boss Igor Matovič will not stop hounding him about it. The SDKÚ will not get back into parliament, nor will SaS. No one will say or do anything that arouses hope for real change.

Given how hard we all have to work to make a living these days, and how tired we are of the cycle of belief and disappointment in politicians, all this non-activity may come as a relief. For all that it won’t answer the larger question of what is to become of our country.

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