In terms of various European political issues, Robert Fico's victory could mean that an opinion similar to that of Hungary may prevail in Bratislava, Zsolt Kolek has said, responding to our newspaper's inquiry. As the editor-in-chief of the Hungarian Ma7 news portal in northern Slovakia pointed out, analysts believe that
the stakes during Slovakia's snap elections were whether the Atlanticist, Western-oriented policy would continue, or whether a sovereignist government focused on national values and interests could be formed in Slovakia. The results seem to point to the latter.
With nearly 100 percent of the votes counted, the Smer-SD led by Robert Fico won Saturday's early elections with 23 percent of the vote, defeating the Progressive Slovakia (PS) party by about five percentage points.
The Hlas party led by former PM Peter Pellegrini could clearly emerge as the kingmaker, Zsolt Kolek pointed out. Mathematically speaking, the three formations (Smer, Hlas and SNS) that are close to each other, at least in terms of voters, could form a government, but they would still command a relatively narrow majority, the expert said.
KDH joining the coalition as a fourth partner cannot be ruled out, either,
− Zsolt Kolek opined. He said the Christian Democrats, at least in their statements, tend to lean towards the PS, but they are closer to Robert Fico's party both in terms of their voter base and their traditions and values. Such a four-party coalition would have a strong foothold.
V4 getting stronger
Robert Fico's election victory could strengthen the Visegrad cooperation, the expert said.
Relations between Budapest and Bratislava could improve compared to the last three and a half years,
− he underlined. He added that unfriendly gestures, such as the one that was followed by Hungarian FM Peter Szijjarto's visit to Slovakia this week - after the Slovak foreign ministry had summoned the Hungarian ambassador to in Bratislava, could be avoided. The Slovak government accused FM Szijjarto of interfering in the elections by consulting with Krisztián Forro, the chairman of the Hungarian Alliance party in northern Slovakia.
In terms of Central European politics, the emphasis and tone may be very similar to the Hungarian government's position,
− the expert explained. He pointed out that the Smer's communication so far shows that Mr Fico is opposed to weapon deliveries to Ukraine, just as Hungary, and stresses the importance of peace talks, in contrast to the globalist mainstream in the West.
An end to ethnicity-based politics?
This time round, the Hungarian parties in northern Slovakia have failed to get into the National Assembly in Bratislava, leaving the community without national representation. The result could mean the end of ethnicity-based politics, Alliance Vice-Chair Szabolcs Mozes told a recent press briefing.
It should be noted that the current result is the best achieved by an ethnic party since 2010.
− analyst Zsolt Kolek has stressed, blaming the failure on the high national turnout. This Saturday saw 68.5 percent of the voters showing up at the polling booths, which is a near historical record. For Hungarians living in northern Slovakia (also referred to as the Uplands - ed.), the ideal scenario would have been fewer people turning up to to vote nationwide. However, the 4.4-percent result should be cause for optimism, he opined.
Right now, I don't see any alternative to ethnicity-based politics,
− Mr Kolek concluded.
Cover photo: Robert Fico, the head of the Direction - Social Democracy (Smer-SD) party, arrives at the results waiting room at the party's headquarters in Bratislava on September 30, 2023, the day of the Slovak parliamentary electio (Photo: MTI/AP/Darko Bandic)