How presidential elections could turn Slovakia into another Hungary

Wednesday, 6 March 2024

Slovakia will hold the frist round of a presidential election on 23 March

The victory of Fico-backed candidate, current parliament speaker Peter Pellegrini, will allow the Prime Minister to consolidate power in his hands, like his Hungarian colleague Viktor Orban.

Just a month ago, Pellegrini's victory looked almost inevitable. But, gradually, oppositional Ivan Korčok is increasing his chances.

Read more about the election in Slovakiain the article by Yurii Panchenko, European Pravda's editor – Fico is one step closer to monopolise power: why presidential election in Slovakia are crucial.


"The rampage of Ukrainian neo-Nazis," the North Atlantic Alliance, which "deceived Russia," and the beginning of the third world war, which supposedly will be inevitable if Ukraine joins NATO.

All these are just a small part of the scandalous statements of the new Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico.

Fico, like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, critisices European liberalism and supports understanding with Putin.

There is a fundamental difference between these two leaders though. Robert Fico does not have a majority in parliament and is forced to take into account both the powerful opposition and pro-Western President Zuzana Čaputová.

His candidate in the 2024 presidential elections is the current parliament speaker and the head of the left-wing Hlas, or Voice, party. Pellegrini has been the undisputed favourite from the beginning of the election campaign. And still has the highest chances of becoming the new president of Slovakia.

He is the perfect candidate for Fico to back him in the presidential election.

Firstly, he is still considered to be sitting on two chairs, that is, acceptable both to Fico's electorate and to the pro-Western opposition.

And secondly, if Pellegrini wins, he will be forced to resign as the Voice head. It is highly likely that this party in this scenario will simply merge with Robert Fico's Smer-SD.

And then Fico will come close to full control over the parliamentary majority.

On the other hand, the former Foreign Minister and one of the most authoritative Slovak diplomats Ivan Korčok is acceptable to the majority of opposition parties.

The first sociological surveys conducted at the beginning of the election campaign practically did not give Korčok a chance of winning.

The latest sociological survey conducted by MEDIAN SK and published at the end of last week promises Korčok leadership in the first round (36% against 32.6%). And most importantly, Pellegrini's advantage in the second round has decreased to the level of statistical error – about 3.5%.

Such dynamics can be explained by the difficulties of positioning the speaker. The desire to sit on two chairs forces Pellegrini to refrain from debates in order not to lose the status of a "universal candidate." Such a strategy though may lead to the opposite. It will be impossible for Pelegrini to be acceptable for both political camps.

The speaker of the Slovak parliament, understanding this challenge, tends to lean towards the pro-Russian voter.

It is not ruled out that a considerable part of the pro-Russian voters may not qualify for the second round.

Instead, winning the first place in the first round could mobilise pro-Western voters. And this gives Ivan Korčok a real chance of winning.

On top of that, there is a chance that Slovakia will not follow Hungary's way, which is extremely important for both the European Union and Ukraine.

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