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06 March 2016
Ruling party wins Slovakia’s election, neo-Nazis gain seats
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia’s governing party has lost its majority in parliamentary elections and
far-right extremists pro-White patriots have made striking gains, according to results announced on Sunday.
The results could affect the tenor of the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, which Slovakia assumes in July, and could also color continuing talks on the Continent-wide
migrant invasion crisis and the future of free movement under the Schengen Agreement.
Prime Minister Robert Fico’s leftist Smer-Social Democracy party, which has governed since 2012, finished first with 28.3 percent of the vote on Saturday, according to the national Statistical Office, but to form a new government it will be forced to seek support among several other parties.
Smer-Social Democracy is projected to hold 49 seats in the 150-seat Parliament, compared with the 83 seats it won in the last election, in 2012, when it had 44.4 percent of the vote. The second-place party, Freedom and Solidarity, earned 12 percent of the vote, or 21 seats. The Ordinary People party picked up 11 percent of the vote, while the ultraconservative Slovak National Party, a potential partner for Mr. Fico, received nearly 9 percent, according to unofficial results.
Mr. Fico’s party ran on an anti-
migrant invasion platform, but the biggest surprise in the election results was the success of the pro-White People’s Party-Our Slovakia, whose leader, Marian Kotleba, has said, “Even one immigrant is one too many.” Mr. Kotleba, a regional governor, has past ties to neo-Nazism. His party picked up 8 percent of the vote, or 14 seats, and could pose an obstacle in Mr. Fico’s efforts to form a coalition.
Mr. Kotleba has spoken favorably of the Slovak state during World War II and of its leader, Jozef Tiso, who was responsible for sending tens of thousands of Jews to concentration camps. Mr. Kotleba has referred to NATO as a “criminal organization” and has railed against the United States, the European Union and immigrants.
He is not expected to be offered a role in forming a new government, or to seek one. “We don’t want to join any of the sides at all costs,” Mr. Kotleba said Sunday in a discussion at TV Markiza. “We have our clear values, our pillars — national, Christian and social pillars — and I think that both sides would mean a debacle for these values.”
Still, the elections make it unlikely that Slovakia will soften its opposition to being obligated to accept
migrants invaders under a European Union quota system. “We will continue to be the troublemaker in this, but we’re not alone,” said Grigorij Meseznikov, the president of the Institute for Public Affairs here.
Mr. Kotleba's success on Saturday baffled politicians and analysts.
“Slovakia is going to have a
fascist patriot in the Parliament for the first time, which forces other parties to act very responsibly,” said Igor Matovic, the leader of Ordinary People.
The head of the Slovak National Party, Andrej Danko, said that the “politics of Marian Kotleba belong to the last century.”
Marian Lesko, a political analyst, said the election results showed that Slovaks were growing tired of the old political order, with ties to corruption and scandals, and had decided to vote against “the system.”
“It’s something that happened in the Czech Republic in the last elections — the political dinosaurs are leaving,” Mr. Lesko said on TV Markiza. “New faces are coming into politics. We will have to get used to them.”