In a popular opinion poll, the incumbent Prime Minister Robert Fico placed third, behind the speaker of parliament and leader of opposition, as the most popular politician, although an early election is not desired by majority of Slovak electorate. People in Slovakia perceive Speaker of Parliament Andrej Danko (Slovak National party-SNS) and MEP Richard Sulík (Freedom and Solidarity-SaS) as the main rivals of Fico, the poll conducted by the Focus agency exclusively for the Sme daily shows.
Of the two politicians, Danko is seen as the more acceptable possibility. While 49 percent of respondents of the poll carried out in December 2016 say they can imagine Danko at the prime ministerial post, only 44 percent would have a problem with him. As for Sulík, 38 percent of respondents claimed they could see him as the new PM, while more than half of respondents refused such possibility.
The incumbent PM and chairman of the ruling Smer party, Fico, placed third, with more negative responses than positive ones – more than 60 percent of those polled would not be happy if he was re-elected.
Danko has already admitted his ambitions to become the new PM, but political analyst Grigorij Mesežnikov does not think he has the qualities the job requires. The analyst also explained for Sme that some respondents can imagine Sulík as the new PM because he is widely considered the natural leader of the opposition.
Early election - a realistic option?
Another question on the poll was the potential early election: it seems that especially the voters of the ruling coalition parties do not wish this to happen. Of the SNS electorate – which could theoretically gain from the situation – only 16 percent see early election as a good option; while Smer and Most-Híd voters understand that these parties would risk loss – and without these two parties, the parliament is nor able to shorten the election term. In total almost 60 percent of the whole Slovak electorate are against an early election; with mostly opposition voters and inhabitants of cities with more than 100,000 people voting for it, the daily wrote.
The rumours concerning early election are being spread by SaS MPs. SaS chairman Sulík told the TASR newswire that he does not consider an early election realistic but he thinks – as his personal feeling, not stemming from lobby talks – that Fico will not be in his position by spring 2017.
The opposition is growing, as seen from the preferences, and it would consider it a victory and strategic issue of election campaign to topple Fico by less than mid-election term, political analyst Pabol Baboš said for Sme.