Slovakia’s Robert Fico wins elections amidst a fractured opposition in parliament
Robert Fico, leader of the strongest party in Slovakia Smer-Social Democracy Party had expected to make a sweeping victory in the parliamentary elections. But with great push back from opposition parties including far-right extremists, left Fico’s party retaining its strength but losing their majority.
A significant part of the campaign was entered around the European Migrant Crisis, with Fico’s party taking an anti-immigrant stance before the elections. The party had campaigned on creating efficient health and transportation measures tailored to young Slovakians, but the strike organized by teachers and nurses affected public opinion and votes for Smer-Social Democracy Party.
These elections come at a crucial time with Slovakia due to take over the European Union’s rotational presidency and addressing issues and policy discussions over the migration crisis. The concern to policy makers is seeing how the re-elected Prime Minister tones down his anti-immigrant rhetoric. He had pledged to never accept quotas on refugees fleeing from war torn countries.
Slovakia has a muslim minority and has not witnessed a huge number of refugees pass through its territory just yet.
Despite the fact that opposition parties agree with his hard line stance on muslim immigrants, some opponents portray him as lacking the commitment to reform education and health care in Slovakia.
One thing is certain, with the sweeping loss of Fico’s party and gains by opposition parties in parliament, there will be complications in formation of a new government. We will be watching to see what the future holds for Slovakia’s political landscape.
*Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico photo credit: Andrej Galica/EPA