GMF Breakfast Briefing: Elections in Slovakia: Trouble for Central Europe’s Prodigy?
- Zuzana Kepplová, Editor and Commentator, SME Daily
- Milan Nič, Head of the Robert Bosch Center for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
- Joerg Forbrig, Director for Central and Eastern Europe, German Marshall Fund of the United States
With parliamentary elections scheduled for February 29, Slovak politics approaches an important crossroads. For two years now, ever since the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancé, Martina Kušnírová, Central Europe’s erstwhile prodigy has been in political crisis mode, and a return to normality is not in sight.
The governing Smer-SD, a member of the European Socialists, will likely see its electorate halved and lose the predominant position it has held in Slovak politics since 2006. By contrast, a strong showing is expected by both centrist OL’aNO and the neo-fascist L’SNS. Yet with a record nine parties and alliances possibly taking the electoral threshold, the Slovak National Council promises to be more fragmented than ever.
A group of five conservative, liberal and centrist-populist parties coordinate their actions. Their hope is to form a coalition government that unseats Smer-SD, stops the rise of L’SNS, fights corruption, and prevents democratic backsliding in Slovakia.
Yet will these five receive enough votes to gain a majority in parliament? Is a five-party coalition government viable given serious ideological divides among its members? Does Smer-SD have any other options than seeking the support of neo-fascists and jeopardizing its membership in the socialist party family? And how will the election result shape the further political, socio-economic, and European development of Slovakia?
This Breakfast Briefing provides initial assessments and perspectives on these key questions in the immediate aftermath of the elections.
To register for the event, please contact Sophija Savtchouk at SSavtchouk@gmfus.org.