Ruling coalition disregards elementary rules of effective ruling, analysts say

Although the current ruling coalition has achieved many goals during its first year, there are some drawbacks.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

The current ruling governments can be praised for several achievements it has made during the first year in office.

Still, there have been many negative tendencies, and Slovakia can do more to improve the quality of its ruling, according to a group of political analysts, including Iveta Radičová, Soňa Szomolányi, Zora Bútorová, Grigorij Mesežnikov and Martin Bútora.

Failing in management

Despite the difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the government led by Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) has adopted positive changes, impacting, for example, the operation of the police, the prosecution service and the judiciary.

“He has achieved significant progress in cleaning the state from mafia practices,” the political analysts said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, praising the selection of new leaders of the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Special Prosecutor’s Office, the selection of new Judicial Council members, and the start of the judicial reform.

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They also emphasised the adoption of new security and defence strategies that clearly defined the position of Slovakia in foreign policy.

On the other hand, there have been several negative tendencies that impacted the style of ruling.

“A key deficiency is the failure to adhere to the elementary rules of effective ruling, the use of micromanagement, and chaotic communication,” the political analysts continued, as quoted by TASR. “The result is the prolonged adoption of decisions, which are partial and unclear.”

They also think that the Matovič government failed to manage the fight against the pandemic and pointed out that Slovakia had the highest number of Covid victims and hospitalised patients per capita in January and February.

Small space for public discussion

Another deficiency is weak communication on the political level and towards the public, linked with restricting the open government principles.

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Moreover, the participation principles are often avoided, while the space for public discussion when submitting legislative changes are being curbed. The political analysts also point to a ministerial style of the ruling coalition, without enough links and interdepartmental cooperation.

They are critical of the efforts to centralise the state power, which can be seen mostly in the communication with social partners and some legislative proposals, most recently the amendment to the law on universities, the Construction Act, and the law on public procurement, as reported by TASR.

They underestimate expertise and there is an absence of systemic inflow of reliable data about important processes. Political analysts are concerned about some efforts to push through the religion fundamentalism ideologies in some policies and laws.

Stable government is a solution

The ruling coalition should, first of all, solve the ongoing crisis and offer a stable government with majority support in the parliament to restore the trust of people in its competencies, according to the political analysts.

The lack of experience with ruling, which could be forgiven during the first year in the office, cannot be used as an excuse in the following years.

“Facing the big challenges, we need a strategically thinking, competent and trustworthy government,” they added, as quoted by TASR.

They stressed the importance of institutions like the president, an autonomous judiciary, prosecution service and police, functional municipalities, independent media, professional community and civic society.

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