Slovakia’s Fico will have little room to maneuver should he return to power this weekend

Slovaks head to the polls in a hotly contested election on Saturday

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Magyar Nemzet
Supporters of former Slovak Prime Minister and head of leftist SMER - Social Democracy party Robert Fico attend an election rally in Michalovce, Slovakia, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

The possible return of former Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has sounded alarm bells in Western Europe for no good reason, according to Politico.

The news site claims that Slovakia, with a population of just 5.5 million, is so dependent on the European Union and EU funds that it would have little realistic chance of moving away from the European mainstream, either politically or economically.

Even the economic turnaround promised by Fico would not be possible without EU funds, and Slovakia would risk losing the confidence of investors, it states.

As a member of the eurozone, the country’s options in the area of monetary policy are also limited.

According to the news portal, while Fico was a pragmatic politician during his previous premierships and did not question his country’s EU and NATO commitments, his “newfound Russian friendliness” and resentment over the events of 2018 could make him a difficult partner for Western leaders.

As for the promise not to send any more ammunition to Ukraine, the author of the article considers it to be weightless, since Slovakia has already given its warring neighbor everything that its own army could do without. If, as in Hungary, no further arms shipments are allowed through, this may pose some logistical problems, but no more than that, and Slovakia would also then face the wrath of the United States.

Politico’s main point of contention, however, is that Fico’s election is a foregone conclusion, as polls suggest the race will be extremely close in the run-off this weekend. Moreover, even if the social democrat Smer party wins, a result of around 20 percent would require a serious coalition deal, which suggests that the country, which has had five prime ministers in five years, will not continue to be hailed as a model of political stability.

The attempt to trivialize the significance of the Slovak elections on one of Europe’s largest left-wing news websites is a clear indication that the European left is probably very unwilling to see Robert Fico back in government.

Slovakia last held elections in 2020, but the coalition government lost a vote of no confidence last December and the country is currently run by a caretaker government led by an ethnic Hungarian economist, Lajos Ódor.

Slovaks head to the polls for early parliamentary elections on Saturday.

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