SLOVAKIA. FROM BRATISLAVA, BAD NEWS FOR ALL, EXCEPT FOR MOSCOW
(October 9, 2023)
BRATISLAVA. The Slovak legislative elections, which took place on September 30, brought bad news for everyone except Moscow.
On September 30, therefore, 68.5% of voters, an unusually high percentage for an Eastern European country, go to the polls to renew the National Council made up of 150 MPs.
These are an early general elections because throughout the legislature it was a waltz of fragile coalitions and technical governments.
The law which governs the conduct of the polls, which is essentially proportional, allows the distributions of parliamentary sets to the lists which obtain a national level the 5% of the votes.
Once the counting is complete, there are seven parties that achieve this level and get in Parliament.
The most voted party is Smer (social democratic direction), led by Robert Fico (pronounced Fizo) who obtained 22.9% and 42 seats.
In second place is Progressive Slovakia, chaired by Michal Šimecka, currently vice-president of the European Parliament: PS wins 18% and 32 seats.
In third position is Hlas (social democratic voice) led by Peter Pellegrini.
Already prime minister between 2018 and 2020, he achieved 14.7% and 27 seats and, according to all observers, will be the king maker of any coalition.
In the past, he joined Smer, then broke away from it to found his own pro-European, reformist and Atlanticist party.
Followed by Olano, the coalition of another former prime minister, Igor Matovic, with 16 MPs, the Christian Democratic Movement with twelve, Freedom and Solidarity with eleven, and the Slovak National Party (SNS), with ten. The two openly neo-fascist parties remained outside the chamber, despite the polls on the eve predicting at least a triumphant result for Republika.
In the aftermath of the vote, President Kaputová, heavily insulted as a fig during the election campaign, reacted quietly to the victory of her bitter opponent. “The greatest responsibility for future developments lies with the winner of the elections, who created the greatest public expectations,” she wrote in a note. “It’s important that he fulfills them for the benefit of all Slovaks.”
On October 2 she invited the winner to form the new government within two weeks; Should he not make it, it will be Šimecka’s turn.
In any case, in spring 2024 there will be a new electoral round: it will be about electing Kaputová’s successor who has already said that she will not re-present her candidacy for the presidency of the Republic.
“The vote – writes Martin Ehl – will be another chapter in the difficult struggle between the country’s political and civil factions, which is leading to a strong polarization of society.”
Twice prime minister,he resigned in 2018 after the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his partner.
The affair had revealed the penetration of organized crime within the ruling elite. At 59, he is essentially an Orbán clone.
“The Slovak leader – says Pierre Haski – managed to get re-elected by promising to put an end to support for Ukraine, and this despite Slovakia having been the first country to offer its fighter planes to Kiev.”
He opposes sanctions against Russia, immigration, the LGBT+ community and Brussels.
In the first years of his government he brought Slovakia into the eurozone and NATO, then to stay in power, he surrounded himself with a criminal gang made up of local oligarchs, benefited by his government and by members of the ‘Ndrangheta.
His ideology blends social conservatism, nationalism, and promises of generous welfare benefits in what has proven to be an effective anti-liberal agenda, especially in small towns and rural areas.”
In fact, adds Tonia Mastrobuoni “half of his electorate are pensioners who live in rural areas.”
The country, however, will soon have to deal with its serious debt: the budget council recently revised the estimate of the public deficit for the current year upwards, bringing it from 5.5 to 5.7%.
Slovakia risks having to face a drastic cut in public spending: for next year the finance ministry will have to achieve a balanced budget, also considering the European rules on the sustainability of public debt, as part of the reform of the Union’s economic governance.
All of this, with all due respect to the amazing electoral promises made by Fico and Pellegrini of new subsidies and an increase in public spending.
AUTOCRACY AGAINST DEMOCRACY
The vote in Slovakia is only the first of a long series of electoral events that will take place a year from now when the new president will be elected in the United States.
It’s now clear that the ongoing conflict is pitting democracies against autocracies on opposing sides.
The latter hope for the crumbling of the former and the electoral coming to power of sovereignist leaders who will break the pro-Kiev front: in fact, Moscow reacted enthusiastically to the announcement of Fico’s victory. Viktor Orbán and former Czech prime minister Andrej Babish expressed the same sentiment.
In this context, Europe will be a major ideological battlefield, while the United States will be involved in a kind of creeping “civil war” between Trumpian extremists and democrats.
We had a taste of this in recent days with the unprecedented removal of the speaker of the House of Representatives in Washington ordered by Trump and implemented by eight far-right Representatives. Putin plans to wage war with Ukraine until November 2024 and is observing what is happening on the anti-Russian front very carefully:
In the end, according to the Kremlin, the winner will be whoever resists the most in terms of human and material resources.
“Moscow – writes Rosalba Castelletti – has prepared itself with large increases in defense spending and production.
Kiev, on the other hand, depends on allied aid.
The key word is.
“Vladimir Putin’s prophecy is coming true”, confirms Alexei Kalmykov, independent analyst of BBC Russia, newspaper blocked in the Federation. Speaking at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in June 2022, the Russian president said that the costs of the conflict in Ukraine would lead in the West to “a wave of populism and the growth of extreme and radical movements, to serious socioeconomic changes, to the degradation and to a change in the elites”.»
If the autocracies win, what will happen to the democracies we are so fond of?
Are we aware that what is at stake are our freedoms, our rights, both individual and collective?
Did we Understood that the risk is that power will be taken from us too by people who want to have free hands to do and undo what interests them most?
Is it clear to us that Europe and the United States can fall into the hands of despots who would undermine the fundamental rules of our societies to destroy that much collaboration and cooperation between peoples that we tried to build after the Second World War?
If Ukraine falls back into the hands of Russia, perhaps precisely because we stop helping it militarily, then there will be another war and another, as happened in the 1930s when Germany first occupied Austria, then Czechoslovakia and finally Poland, then almost all of Europe was under Nazi-fascist rule for years.
These are our story, this is what we must prevent.
PIER LUIGI GIACOMONI
 M. Ehl, Hospodárské noviny, Czech Republic, Populists win in Bratislava, in Internazionale N. 1532, 6 October 2023;
 P. Haski, France Inter, France, Robert Fico’s victory in Slovakia is bad news, internazionale.it, 3 October 2023;
 T. Mastrobuoni, The left-wing Orbán marches on Bratislava and scares Europe, republica.it, 30 September 2023;
 R. Castelletti, Putin ready to run again focuses on a divided West and the triumph of populisms, Repubblica.it, 4 October 2023.