Avoiding a Black Hole

Foreign Policy in Slovakia

4 February 2020

The upcoming parliamentary elections in Slovakia can redefine the country’s politics and may have a big impact on its foreign policy priorities – and broader geostrategic orientation. To offset this, it is paramount that parties of the democratic opposition form the next government.

On 29 February 2020, Slovaks will head to polls to vote in the parliamentary elections. The opinion polls are predicting a tight race, with nine parties set to take seats in the National Council. The current governing party, SMER-Social Democracy, a despite a drop in public support would remain the largest party.

The most important development, however, is the recent surge of the neo-fascist People’s Party Our Slovakia of Marian Kotleba (LSNS). The party is currently polling at 11 per cent. This happened in spite of former SMER-SD Prime Minister Robert Fico’s claim in 2017 that his government will be a “barrier against extremism“.

Political polarisation, growing regional differences, a continuous stream of corruption scandals (Slovakia is the sixth most corrupt country in the EU) and broader frustration with the political system have contributed to the rise of LSNS as well as a stream of other populist, fringe or anti-democratic parties.

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Igor Merheim-Eyre

Dr Igor Merheim-Eyre is a Research Fellow at the Global Europe Centre (University of Kent) and the GCRF COMPASS Project

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