Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Regional elections will be a power test for the far right in Slovakia

What are the prospects of extremists around Kotleba in the upcoming vote?

(Source: Sme)

When Marian Kotleba won the regional governor election in Banská Bystrica, people who had been observing the Slovak extremists scene called it the first step for his party into big politics.

Sure enough, two and a half years later, 14 people from the far-right People’s Party - Our Slovakia (ĽSNS), including Kotleba himself, assumed their MP posts. The party then scored more than 8 percent in the national election, leaving most observers of the Slovak political scene astonished, since few of them had expected the party known for its anti-Semitic and racist views to make it that far. Currently, the polls show support for ĽSNS oscillating around 10 percent at the national level.

In the eight regions of Slovakia, the party has candidates who may have a good result in two: Banská Bystrica and Nitra. In all the regions, the ĽSNS is going to try and fill as many seats in the regional councils as possible.

Read also:How IT teacher brought extremists to parliament

That is one of the reasons why the upcoming regional elections are considered the political event of 2017 in Slovakia. The polls are scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 4, and foreigners with a permanent residence in Slovakia are also eligible to vote. Will the regional polls confirm the power of the extreme right?

“A potential failure in the Banská Bystrica Region may lead to a weakening of Marian Kotleba’s position within the party, which is also why he hesitated with his candidacy for so long,” expert on extremism Tomáš Nociar told The Slovak Spectator.

All eyes on Banská Bystrica

Kotleba was in fact one of the last candidates to announce he would run for re-election, just before the deadline for submitting candidacies in early September. Kotleba was elected to the post in November 2013 with over 70,000 votes (compared to the 26,000 that he received in the first election round two weeks before). He beat the incumbent Vladimír Maňka, a prominent Smer politician.

His victory marked the first time in Slovakia’s post-1989 history that a far-right extremist was directly elected to a high political office.

Despite the growing examples of misconduct from Kotleba’s office, published polls have suggested that he still appeals to a significant number of voters. The interviews the Slovak media have presented in recent months from various parts of the region, demonstrate that the attitude in the region has not turned against Kotleba.

“What we know about ĽSNS voters suggests that they do not perceive the activities of Marian Kotleba as regional governor critically and they are rather inclined to perceive the information about his possible failures as a campaign by the establishment,” sociologist Michal Vašečka from Masaryk University in Brno told The Slovak Spectator.

Does Kotleba have a chance to be re-elected? What about the candidate in Nitra? Extremists will test their power

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Topic: Election


Top stories

The Financial Administration’s head resigns from post

František Imrecze says his decision was spontaneous.

František Imrecze

Institutions can be quickly destroyed, but they are hard to build

Head of the To Dá Rozum intiative, Renáta Hall, talks about the impacts of a dispute between the academy of sciences and the Education Ministry.

Renáta Hall

Man from Russian sanction list trained president’s and PM’s bodyguards

Denis Riauzov is on the sanctions list and the secret services believe he is a Russian agent.

He survived the Paris attacks: Slovakia healed me, he says

I stepped back into life and learned to live again here. I don’t think I could have done it in Paris, says Thomas Tran Dinh.

I found people in Slovakia who try to understand and balance things, says Thomas Tran Dinh.