Latest polls show possible deadlock in Slovak election
Neither frontrunner Smer, campaigning to end military aid to Ukraine, nor runner-up Progressive Slovakia have a clear path towards building a government after the snap elections next Saturday unless smaller parties break pre-election promises.
The possible deadlock is partly caused by I&D-aligned Sme Rodina, which formed a part of the post-Smer government in 2020, falling below the 5% quorum. Its leader and former speaker of the parliament, Boris Kollár, has recently admitted to physically abusing a former partner, which seems to have hurt his popularity.
Five parties hover near the quorum, meaning a slight change could shake up current predictions. Slovakia has a recent memory of impossible coalitions taking place.
In 2016, small parties Sieť and Most-Híd entered a government with Smer despite claiming they would not do so before the elections, which led to one of them breaking up and another polling at 1.4%
The election’s outcome could have ramifications for the EU’s foreign policy, with increasingly pro-Russian Smer promising to “fight Brussels”. If former prime minister Robert Fico’s party won, it would have to convince its defector Hlas to join ranks with the far-right Republika, whom their leader, Peter Pellegrini, calls “fascists”.
“Pellegrini will not win the elections, but he will likely decide what kind of government will be formed after the elections and whether it will be a government with Smer or with Progressive Slovakia and other partners,” political scientist Michal Cirner told Pravda.
A recent probe into Hlas leadership by Denník N showed that 17 out of 20 board members prefer to join a Smer-led government. Leader of Republika, MEP Milan Uhrík, said that parties ruling out cooperation now will change their tune after the election.
Alternatively, Smer could also invite Christian Democrat KDH to govern. Both parties campaign against LGBTQ+ rights, but KDH has ruled out cooperation with Smer due to its corruption scandals.
Runner-up Progressive Slovakia has even fewer options. According to the latest poll, it would have to convince former prime minister Igor Matovič (Ordinary People) to enter a government without fulfilling his one condition, which is a €500 cash bonus for election participation.
Additionally, Matovič and Pellegrini mutually ruled out cooperation.
(Barbara Zmušková | Euractiv.sk)