Smer is leading a proxy campaign

But Čaputová is not Kiska.

Maroš ŠefčovičMaroš Šefčovič (Source: SITA)

Congesting every conversation with topics of little substance or even with false facts has been an increasingly popular tactic in Slovakia, and elsewhere, in recent years. Five years ago, when Robert Fico ran for president, and faced Andrej Kiska in the runoff, he largely managed to divert discussion away from policy and towards allegations (largely of Fico’s own creation) that his opponent was connected to loan sharks and even Scientology.

This time around, the ruling Smer party has chosen to unveil a kind of proxy campaign of a type we haven’t seen for a while: attacking a candidate by attacking someone else. When support for Zuzana Čaputová hit 50 percent in the last public opinion polls allowed before the first round, Smer representatives rolled out a strategy that they had tested against Kiska five years earlier: fearmongering. Their statements hinted darkly at the imminent dissolution of all traditional families in Slovakia, should Čaputová be elected. What good could come from this “lass” (© Andrej Danko) who does not seem to mind people of the same sex bringing up a child together – even if the alternative is institutional care for that child?

Emotions needed

To the surprise of not just Smer, but also the liberal-leaning part of the society, Smer voters did not seem to buy that argument. Of course, there are enough people who find the idea of same-sex couples, let alone an autonomous and independent woman in a leadership position, repulsive. But many of these folks, it turns out, much prefer candidates who accompany the words “traditional family”, syllable by syllable, with a strong and loud bang on the table. Unfortunately for Smer, their candidate (which he is, despite his best efforts in the first stages of his campaign to make people believe otherwise), Maroš Šefčovič, is just not that kind of politician.

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

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on
  • 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 and

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Theme: Maroš Šefčovič

Read more articles by the topic
This article is also related to other trending topics
Peter Pellegrini, Presidential election 2019

Top stories

Threats have worked. People queued for COVID testing before the official start

The nationwide testing in Slovakia started with four districts in the north. Here is a report from the first day in Orava.


Day two of pilot testing in hardest-hit regions is off to a smoother start

PM Igor Matovič and Health Minister Marek Krajčí are helping the sampling teams, too.

Trstená, the Tvrdošín district

No test, no work. Employees will have to take paid or unpaid leave

Those who will be quarantined with a positive test result will be entitled to pandemic sick leave.

Illustrative stock photo

Autumn holidays change, art schools close too

The ministry will contribute to schools to buy computers and other equipment for distance learning.

Illustrative stock photo