- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Slovakia’s Former PM Robert Fico Wins Elections; “King-Maker” Pellegrini Holds Key to New Government
Former Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, leading the Smer-SD party, secured victory in the country’s snap parliamentary elections held on Saturday, winning over 23% of the vote. This result positions Fico to potentially become prime minister for the fourth time, according to analysis in Slovak media.
However, the true king-maker in forming the next government will be Peter Pellegrini’s party, Hlas-SD, which finished third in the elections after Smer-SD and Progressive Slovakia (PS). Pellegrini, a former Prime Minister himself, served in the Smer-SD party for many years before leaving in 2020. He was Prime Minister from 2018 to 2020.
Fico’s victory in the election has sparked concerns among some media outlets, with accusations that he has stoked fear and used anti-liberal rhetoric to secure his win. Fico has been critical of military aid to Ukraine and Western sanctions against Russia, taking a stance that differs from the liberal values embraced by many in Europe.
While Smer-SD emerged as the clear winner, Pellegrini’s Hlas-SD is expected to play a crucial role in determining the next government’s stability. Pellegrini has been careful about revealing his party’s preferences for coalition partners, and in a televised debate, he refused to indicate whether his party would prefer to cooperate with Smer-SD or PS.
A stable coalition may depend on Pellegrini’s party, as well as the potential cooperation of other parties, including the nationalist Slovak National Party (SNS). To form a majority government without Smer-SD, Hlas-SD would need three more parties.
Despite Fico’s victory, there are concerns about his rhetoric and its impact on Slovakia’s position in democratic Europe. Fico’s victory has raised questions about the future direction of the country and its relationship with the European Union.
In the end, the political landscape in Slovakia remains uncertain, with negotiations among parties expected to continue, and the composition of the next government hinging on the decisions of Hlas-SD and its leader, Peter Pellegrini.
Fico’s election victory reflects a political landscape in Slovakia marked by divisions and shifting allegiances, and the formation of the next government will be closely watched in Europe as it determines the country’s direction in the coming years.
Article by Prague Forum