Not Another Miracle

Populists, Religious Fundamentalists and Democrats May Share Power after the Slovak Elections

27 February 2020

Zuzana Kepplova & Wojciech Przybylski

This weekend’s Slovak elections will likely mark the end of the era when SMER was in power. Yet, a new government composed of the democratic opposition will be tormented by populism, religious fundamentalism and experimental methods in an attempt to fix the democratic system.

It was a memorable speech. Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová, who faced politicians and diplomats from all over the world at the Munich Security Conference, stated that the judiciary in the Visegrad Group countries suffers from “defensive formalism of post-communist justice” – combing a disregard for the spirit of rights and a lack of courage. She added that laws disciplining judges are needed and listed Poland as the leading country in their implementation.

Zuzana Čaputová

Was this the same president who was supposed to be a counterbalance to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Law and Justice President Jaroslaw Kaczyński, both accused of authoritarianism? Those who listened to her carefully until the end were not disappointed.

Not only did Čaputova lay out the real problems of the justice system throughout Europe, but above all, she rebuked politicians who do not know moderation in reforming the law by force and are pushing populist slogans. She also supported the link between the European Union budget and the rule of law assessment.

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