A government without Smer is possible

September polls show it will be painful.

Peter PellegriniPeter Pellegrini (Source: TASR)

Welcome to your weekly commentary and overview of news from Slovakia. The September polls give a better hint of what to expect at the elections. Some candidates are resorting to their fists. Keep calm and vote, psychiatrists say. Slovakia expels a Russian Embassy staffer.

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If you have a suggestion on how to make this overview better, let me know at michaela.terenzani@spectator.sk.

September polls show it can still go either way

Andrej Kiska, the former president whose term was marked by growing hostility between the Presidential Palace and the Government Office – then headed by Robert Fico – has been offering some advice to like-minded Slovak citizens two weeks before they head to the polls. Essentially, he says, if you don’t want to see Fico make a comeback, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

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That basket is Progressive Slovakia (PS), which is benefiting from the snowball effect and collecting votes among the sizeable anti-Fico camp. But the more PS’s support grows, the more it risks having no partners in the house with which to form a stable parliamentary majority and subsequently a government that does not include Smer. This view, which Kiska basically endorsed with his intervention in the campaign, envisions a scenario that the latest NMS Research poll for the Sme daily suggests is a real possibility. PS leader Michal Šimečka responded by asking what has become of Slovakia if the aspiration to beat Smer in the polls is met with defeatism.

Leaving aside the irony of Kiska’s appeal in view of the role he played in the failure of progressive forces in 2020, the competitors and at the same time potential future partners of PS (most notably SaS) have already started campaigning against the Progressives. This is partly an echo of the fear voiced by Kiska, and partly because they know that PS’s 18-percent share comprises a significant chunk of their one-time voters.

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The feared scenario

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