Will Slovakia recognise Venezuela's interim president?

The ruling Smer sides with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav LajčákForeign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák (Source: TASR)

"As for now, we do not have a political stand to adopt a definite position of the Slovak Republic on the situation in Venezuela," said Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák (Smer nominee), as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Lajčák opines that Slovakia should join the EU in its stance and support interim president Juan Guaidó. Nonetheless, the coalition parties Smer and the Slovak National Party (SNS) do not share the view, despite their determination to become more pro-European and pro-Atlantic.

"Slovakia cannot back either one or the other side of the internal political battle in this country only to be caressed on our head by Washington, Brussels or Moscow," said Smer chair Robert Fico in a video published on Facebook. He went on to compare the situation in Venezuela to Iraq.

All in all, it seems there is no consensus about Venezuela at this point.

"It turns out that the schism in Smer's foreign policy is getting worse," claimed MP Martin Klus of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), as quoted by the Denník N daily.

Read also:Lajčák’s resignation raises concerns about Slovakia’s future political orientation Read more 

The change in opinion

The Foreign Affairs Ministry declared last week that it considered Guaidó and the Venezuelan parliament the only legitimate power in the country, from where millions of people are fleeing or starving because of the political and economic crisis.

"We believe that the presidential office of Venezuela is unoccupied from January 10,2019, and Guaidó as a legitimately elected leader in the democratic process is exercising his powers within the limits given by the constitution," the ministry wrote in its statement.

It sees new democratic elections as the only peaceful and democratic solution.

However, the stance has changed after the parliamentary European affairs committee's session, chaired by Ľuboš Blaha (Smer), who defended Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Blaha supports autocratic regimes, considers himself a Marxist and supports Maduro, Denník N wrote.

Schism of the Slovak foreign policy

Read also:Diplomat Lajčák was respected abroad and among the opposition Read more 

While the opposition and Most-Híd, the last of the coalition parties, support Lajčák and consider the latest presidential elections in Venezuela unfree, SNS and Smer said Slovakia should comply with international law.

"I have pointed out for some time the political consensus in foreign policy questions ceased to exist," said Katarína Cséfalvayová (Most-Híd), as quoted by Denník N.

Slovakia's foreign policy has been put into the centre of a political battlefield between parties, she added.

"We are the last in the V4 region not to adopt a position on this matter, even though our allies have spoken out unambiguously," Cséfalvayová said, as quoted by Denník N.

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