European Interest

Slovakia: Thirty-one parties are running for 13 seats

Demonstration in memory of murdered journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, Bratislava, March 2, 2018.

Altogether 31 political parties with some 343 candidates are competing for 13 Slovak seats in the 2019 EP elections.

Slovakia is the champion among the countries with new parties in the next European Parliament with four. There’s also another record being broken. Three of its four new parties belong to the far-right.

The country is among the EU member states with higher corruption levels. The rule of law and media freedom are also threatened by the ruling party SMER, which is a member of the S&D Group.

The European Parliament deplored serious shortcomings in the rule of law in Slovakia on March, also warning of rising threats for journalists throughout the EU.

Investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová were assassinated on February 21, 2018.

Civil Liberties and Budgetary Control Committee MEPs visited Slovakia in March 2018, in the wake of the assassination of Kuciak and Kušnírová.

The rule of law monitoring group headed by Sophie in ‘t Veld (ALDE, NL) made a follow-up visit in November 2018.

The murder of the young journalist as well as the high level of corruption and organised activities in the country fomented mass demonstrations.

As a result a new party emerged, Progressive Slovakia.

The Democratic soul of Slovakia

Progressive Slovakia (PS) represents the first attempt of a viable liberal party in the country. The party was established in 2017 and is openly pro-European and sensitive to topics concerning social and racial discrimination. It is also a potential ally of Emmanuel Macron’s new Group in the European parliament.

The party carried out successfully two important electoral battles.

On March 30, the first female President of the country was elected. Zuzana Čaputová, an environmental lawyer and active in the anti-corruption movement as well as in the non-profit sector, was Progressive Slovakia’s vice-chair.

The party won the municipal elections in the capital city of Bratislava on November 2018. The new Mayor, the independent candidate Matúš Vallo, run with the support of the Progressive Slovakia and Spolu party, receiving 36.54%.

On May 8 the party elected his new leader, the former Vice-President Michal Truban.

The far-right

Three of the far-right parties running for the EU elections is expected to win seats in the next European Parliament.

The Kotleba – People’s Party Our Slovakia of Marian Kotleba, reclaims the legacy of Jozef Tiso and the First Slovak Republic, the client Nazi state during World War II. The party is known for its anti-Roma rhetoric and anti-immigration agenda, while its youth are reportedly involved in racist acts of violence. It has 14 MPs in the National Council (parliament).

The We Are Family (Sme Rodina) combines anti-immigration with anti-corruption fight and verbal attacks against the oligarchs. The party, founded only in 2015, won 11 seats (6.6%) to the National Council (parliament) during the Slovak parliamentary election of 2016. It is an ally of Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini.

No doubt the Slovak National Party (SNS) is an old player in far-right political game. Founded in 1989, the party has had seats in every Slovak parliament since then and has been partner in coalition governments twice. A coalition with Robert Fico‘s Smer-SD resulted in a disaster for the latter since the Party of European Socialists (PES) considered SNS a party “inciting racial or ethnic prejudices and racial hatred” and suspended Smer’s membership. Following an electoral defeat, the party returned to the National Council in 2016 obtaining 8.6% and 15 seats and his leader the lawyer Andrej Danko became the Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic.

What polls indicate

In 2014, 29 parties participated in the European elections and 333 candidates were running for MEPs.

The ruling Direction-Social Democracy (SMER) won 4 seats with 24.09% while the Christian Democratic Mouvement and the Democratic and Christian Union-Democratic Party (SDKÚ–DS), both members of the EPP Group elected 2 MEPs each with 13.21% and 7,75% respectively.

Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO), the alliance NOVA-KDS-OKS, Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), the Party of the Hungarian Community (SMK–MKP) and the Most-Híd (Most) won 1 seat each.

European elections will take place on 25 May. Electoral Threshold for access to the European Parliament is 5%.

According to the latest polls the political situation in the country it is changed since 2014.

SMER-SD is in slight decline with 21% and it is expected to elect 3 MEPs. The neo-Nazi People’s Party Our Slovakia and the ALDE ally SaS are in second place with 12% each expecting to win 2 seats each.

The parties OĽaNO, Sme Rodina, KDH, Progressive Slovakia-TOGETHER, New Majority (NOVA) and the SNS is expected to win 1 seat each.

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