Why do Czechs have a Slovak for prime minister?

When things get serious, Slovaks protest, organise and exercise power at the ballot box. Czechs go skiing.

(Source: MAFRA, Dan Materna)

Czechs have given up. There is no other conclusion to draw from Miloš Zeman’s reelection. A majority of people voted for a candidate who didn’t campaign, whose reelection slogan was “Zeman Again” (Zeman znovu), and who is too ill to do the job.

More than an irrational fear of immigrants, or feelings of economic dislocation, a vote for Zeman was a vote that things are okay they way they are. Voters think the guy they know — that one who everybody can see is dying, who is surrounded by corrupt aides and curses on state media — is the best choice because anything new is unpredictable. For Czechs, change is now a negative thing, they no longer believe that things can get better.

Martin Ehl, the foreign editor at the Czech daily Hospodářské Noviny, recently compared how Slovak voters have repeatedly mobilised to make sure their country stays on a liberal democratic path: first by ousting Vladimír Mečiar, next by electing Andrej Kiska when Robert Fico sought to transition from prime minister to president, and even more recently by defeating fascist Marian Kotleba in the Banská Bystrica regional election. Czechs, Ehl argued, could learn a lot from these Slovak experiences. I would put it another way. When things get serious, Slovaks protest, organise and exercise power at the ballot box. Czechs go skiing.

To go one step further, let’s compare the recent Czech presidential election and the Slovak vote from 2014.

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

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Theme: Election

Read more articles by the topic

Top stories

Here's what the across-the-board coronavirus testing should look like

The Defence Ministry introduced the basic steps of the planned testing.

Most Slovaks plan to participate in the nationwide testing

But people are also afraid of becoming infected and organisational chaos.

Bratislava is testing special trolleybus

Public transport should become greener in the capital.

Bratislava borroved the hybrid trolleybus from the Czech city of České Budějovice for a week.