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Pro-Kremlin Figure's Party Tops Election In Slovakia, Raising Concerns For NATO And EU Unity

Pro-Kremlin figure's party tops election in Slovakia, garnering more votes than expected, which could potentially disrupt NATO and EU unity regarding Ukraine.

Hajra Shannon
Oct 03, 2023553 Shares55266 Views
Pro-Kremlin figure's party tops election in Slovakia, garnering more votes than expected, which could potentially disrupt NATO and EU unity regarding Ukraine.
Official results released by Slovakia's Statistical Office indicate that Robert Fico's populist SMER party secured 22.9% of the vote, while the liberal and pro-Ukrainian Progressive Slovakia (PS) party won 18%.
Fico, a former two-time prime minister, now faces the task of forming a coalition government, as his party's vote share falls short of allowing it to govern independently.
This development has significant implications for Slovakia's stance on Russia-Ukraine relations and its role within the EU.

Fico's Victory And His Peace Talks Pledge

Slovakia's President Zuzana Čaputová has formally invited Fico to form a government, in line with the country's political customs.
Fico, after his electoral win, reiterated his commitment to initiating peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, emphasizing that further violence would benefit no one.
We’re here, we’re ready, we’ve learned something, we’re more experienced. We have clear ideas; we have clear plans.- Robert Fico
However, such negotiations may not be welcomed by Ukraine, as they could potentially involve territorial concessions to Russia, a proposition Kyiv vehemently opposes.
The moderate-left Hlas party, led by a former SMER member, secured third place with 14.7% of the vote. This party's positioning could make it a key player in potential coalition negotiations.
With seven political parties crossing the 5% threshold to enter parliament, forming a coalition is likely to involve multiple stakeholders and may prove to be a protracted and complex process.

Coalition Building And Slovakia's Foreign Policy Shift

Fico needs at least two other parties to secure a parliamentary majority. The most probable coalition scenario involves Hlas and the far-right nationalist SNS party.
Slovakia's foreign policy is expected to shift under Fico's leadership, with promises to cease military support for Ukraine and opposition to Ukraine's NATO aspirations, diverging from the country's previous pro-Ukraine stance.
Slovakia, a NATO and EU member, has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine, providing both political and military support.
However, Fico's victory could lead to a significant policy change, as he has criticized Ukraine and opposed sanctions against Russia.
This shift could align Slovakia more closely with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, creating potential challenges for EU unity.
Robert Fico speaks to the media a day after Slovak parliamentary elections.
Robert Fico speaks to the media a day after Slovak parliamentary elections.

A Political Revival Amidst Controversy

Robert Fico's political resurgence is remarkable given his involvement in several corruption cases and the mass protests that forced his resignation as prime minister in 2018, following the murder of an investigative journalist.
Despite these controversies, Fico now faces the task of forging alliances within Slovakia's fragmented political landscape to avoid another hung parliament.
Fico's victory raises concerns in Washington and Brussels as it could introduce another anti-Ukraine voice within the EU alongside Hungary's Viktor Orbán.
Fico has opposed sanctions against Russia and expressed skepticism about NATO's support for Ukraine, potentially undermining Western unity in assisting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.
The leader of the PS, Michal Šimečka, called the outcome "bad news" for Slovakia.
The fact of the matter is that SMER is the winner. And we of course respect that although we think it’s bad news for the country. And it will be even worse news if Mr Fico forms the government.- Michal Šimečka, The leader of the PS
I will be in touch with other political leaders of parties that were elected to parliament – on an informal basis – to discuss ways of preventing that. We think it will be really bad news for the country, for our democracy, for our rule of law, and for our international standing and for our finances and for our economy if Mr Fico forms the government.- Michal Šimečka, The leader of the PS

Final Words

Slovakia's recent election results, with Fico's SMER party emerging victorious, have raised questions about the country's foreign policy, EU unity, and its role in the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
The formation of a coalition government will be crucial in determining the direction Slovakia takes in international relations, potentially reshaping its stance on critical issues in Eastern Europe.
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