The Populist Pitfall in Slovakia

How Slovak politics gets hijacked by second-tier themes 

27 September 2023

Albin Sybera

Contributing Editor

Slovak elections will be held on Saturday, and rivalling populists are coopting the media space with xenophobic narratives to steer the debate away from meaningful policy discussion. Amidst their cacophony, a liberal party slowly gains.

With less than a week to go before the 30 September snap vote in Slovakia, attempts to turn the election campaign into populist theatrics in which little of the country’s chronic social or economic issues are addressed have intensified.

Social networks and aggressive memes have amplified the populist spinning of migration or anti-corruption efforts. Yet, in the background, the liberal Progressive Slovakia Party has grown considerably by offering a different political style not associated with its dramatic rivalries.

If the populist onslaught led by former strongman Robert Fico and his Smer party is to be checked, it may come at a costly compromise.

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Albin Sybera

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor. Albin is a freelance journalist, consultant and a former clerk at the State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic. Besides Visegrad Insight, his texts can be also found at Britské listy or Balkan Insight and he is also a news reporter covering Czechia and Slovakia at bne IntelliNews.

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