Will Slovakia Become Similar to Orbán’s Hungary after Election?

Friday, 8 September 2023

On September 30, Slovakia will hold early parliamentary elections. The outcome could be quite unfavourable for Kyiv.

How likely is the scenario of an anti-Ukrainian coalition? Does this mean a complete withdrawal of military support for Ukraine from Bratislava?

In general, will Slovakia become a country with policies like Viktor Orbán's Hungary?

All of this was discussed by EuroPravda's editor Yurii Panchenko in a conversation with Alexander Duleba, an expert from the Slovak Foreign Policy Association in Bratislava.

The most interesting points from the interview you can read in the article Leader of Elections in Slovakia Became Anti-Ukrainian Due to Insult to Yulia Tymoshenko.

It is possibility that Slovak politics, both internally and externally, will become similar to what Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary, is pursuing.

This could happen if the party Smer-SD and its leader Robert Fico form a coalition following the parliamentary elections on September 30. Fico served as the Slovak Prime Minister for twelve years. His success is largely associated with the chaos during the last governments, including those of Igor Matovič and Eduard Heger.

The coalition with Smer-SD might include openly neo-Nazi parties like Republic, as well as the Voice party and the We Are Family party. In principle, a government formed by such a coalition could resemble the Orbán government.

However, it's important to note that Slovakia is not Hungary. The key difference between the two countries is that Slovakia doesn't have a dominant party like Orbán's Fidesz. Orbán enjoys a parliamentary majority, whereas Fico would need to consider the wishes of other political forces.

Another difference is that Slovakia has antibodies against authoritarianism, even two layers of them. If Fico were to become Prime Minister again, it's unlikely that Slovakia would adopt such a pro-Russian policy as Orbán's. It would probably opt for a more passive approach, avoiding statements and actions in support of Kyiv.

Nevertheless, the expert doesn't believe Fico would halt defence projects related to Ukraine, such as contracts to manufacture weapons for the Ukrainian Armed Forces or cooperation agreements in the defence industry. These projects are beneficial for Slovakia.

In general, Fico's party will advocate not arming Ukraine. They will call for peace at any cost, which is an entirely unacceptable scenario for Ukraine.

Fico simply wants to appear good in the eyes of his voters. He will say one thing but do something entirely different.

In principle, he has always pursued this dual-vector Eastern policy. Although in 2014-2016, Fico wasn't as openly anti-Ukrainian, he did have some anti-Ukrainian sentiments from earlier experiences during his negotiations with then-Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko. However, elections can still lead to unexpected results.

The problem in Slovakia is that more than 30% of the population doesn't have a clear political position. This is the key issue in Slovak politics. Where will these 30% go, those without a clear stance? Therefore, in Slovak elections, everything is decided in the last days, and surprises, both pleasant and not, are possible.

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