Slovakia’s Fico election win expected to benefit Hungary

SMER leader Robert Fico arrives at the his election night press conference in Bratislava. (MTI/AP/Darko Bandic)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Robert Fico’s Smer-SD party won Saturday’s early elections in Slovakia, with Fico’s victory seen by Hungary as another European victory for sovereignist politics based on national interests.

With Fico’s win, views similar to those of Hungary on various European political issues could now prevail in Slovakia, said Zsolt Kolek, political editor for Slovakia’s Hungarian-language news portal Ma7, while speaking with Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet.

The portal pointed out that according to analysts, the stakes of the Slovak early elections were whether the Atlanticist, Western-friendly policies 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 almost all votes counted, Robert Fico’s Smer-SD won the election with 23 percent of the vote in
Saturday’s by-election, beating the Progressive Party (18 percent) by around five percentage points.

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The kingmaker could clearly be the social-democratic Hlas (Voice) party led by former Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, which garnered 14.7 percent of the votes, Zsolt Kolek pointed out. The expert said that mathematically, the three formations (Smer, Hlas and the nationalist SNS) that are close to each other, at least in terms of voters, could form a government, but would still have a relatively narrow majority.

The possibility of the Christian-Democratic Movement (KDH) joining the coalition as a fourth partner cannot be ruled out, said Kolek. He said that the Christian Democrats tend to lean towards the PS in their statements, but are closer to Robert Fico’s party in terms of their voter base, which has similar traditions and values. Such a four-party coalition would already have a strong foothold in parliament.

The fact that Fico won the election could strengthen the Visegrád cooperation, the expert also 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 followed Péter Szijjártó’s visit to Slovakia this week, when the Slovak Foreign Ministry in Bratislava requested to see Hungary’s ambassador to Slovakia due to alleged election interference, could be avoided.

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