No victors in Slovak elections

Party of Robert Fico will struggle to form a new government.

TrnavaTrnava (Source: SME)

SEVERAL foreign media are pointing out the victory of extremist parties which made it to the parliament after March 5 parliamentary elections, stressing the difficulty Prime Minister Robert Fico’s Smer will have to form a new government.

“Slovaks woke up to the post-election morning where there are no victors after the votes are counted,” Luboš Palata wrote in his commentary for the website. “There are only losers.”

Though the ruling Smer won the elections, it fell significantly compared with the pre-election polls’ predictions and harvested only less than 30 percent of the vote, Palata added.

Smer loses majority

Fico will need a coalition partner to return for a third term, according to the British BBC.

“Gains by small parties, including an extreme right one, may produce a divided parliament with no clear path to forming a majority government,” it wrote on its website.

Fico, who had hoped to rule with one smaller coalition partner, said building a new coalition in a highly fragmented parliament would take time and be tough, given the “very complicated” election results, as reported by the British Guardian.

If Fico fails to form a new cabinet, a group of centre-right parties could try to form a broad but possibly unstable anti-Fico coalition, a repeat of the 2010 elections, according to the Reuters newswire.

The media outlets also remind of Fico’s anti-immigration rhetoric, comparing it with the views in Poland and Hungary. They also write that the country will take over the rotating presidency of the EU Council in July.

“With euro-zone member Slovakia due to take over the European Union’s rotating presidency from July, giving it a bigger role in EU policy discussions over the bloc’s migration crisis, the election is being watched closely in Brussels,” the Reuters newswire wrote.

Non-systemic parties in the house

Another strong moment highlighted by foreign media is the election result of Ľudová Strana – Naše Slovensko (ĽSNS) led by Marian Kotleba and Sme rodina led by businessman Boris Kollár.

The BBC’s Rob Cameron described Kotleba as an unrepentant admirer of Slovakia’s wartime existence as a Nazi puppet state, and until recently dressed in a uniform modelled on that state’s pro-Nazi militia.

Such a result may follow the fact that unemployment of more than 10 percent and vast regional differences in wealth, as well corruption and low health care and education standards, have disappointed many voters, Reuters wrote.

“The results showed Fico’s bet on immigration fears may have brought votes to others,” Reuters added.

Palata writes in his opinion piece that some of these “anti-systemic parties” may have taken votes from Smer. He lists not only ĽSNS and Sme rodina, but also the Slovak National Party (SNS) which returned to the parliament after four years. According to him, it withdrew from its nationalist character only pro forma.

Hard to form coalition

Though two right-wing parties, Freedom and Solidarity of Richard Sulík and Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO-NOVA) of Igor Matovič each harvested more than 10 percent of the vote, neither of them can form “a reasonable government”, Palata comments.

Both parties were seemingly successful in criticising Smer during their campaign, so neither of them can afford to a form government with Fico. The same is true for Most-Híd, which cannot agree on ruling with Smer and SNS since it had warned against the latter making it to the house before the elections, Palata reminds.

Slovakia now has two possibilities: either the political parties for which cooperation is unimaginable at the moment will form a government or there will be a caretaker government led by President Andrej Kiska which would run the country during its presidency over the EU Council in the second half of the year.

“And in one year new, early elections in which the voters would give new cards to Slovak politicians,” Palata concluded.

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