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PM Orbán’s ally braces for victory in Slovakia

July 19th, 2023

If former Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico wins the elections in September, commentators suggest that a new populist axis will emerge in Central Europe.

In an interview with 444, Zoltán Szalay, editor of the Hungarian language Bratislava newspaper Napunk finds it probable but not certain that Robert Fico will win the next parliamentary elections. But as the latest polls suggest he has only 19 percent support among the electorate, he will need two radical right-wing parties as allies. Even the three together may fall short of 50 percent. If he wins, however, Szalay says, a Central European populist axis will emerge with Mr Fico, Prime Minister Orbán and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić.

In Magyar Hírlap, Károly Lóránt quotes an article from The Telegraph in which Fico’s tactics are described as ‘plucked straight from the playbook of Viktor Orbán’ and worries are expressed about the ascent of populist parties. Lóránt defines ‘Orbán’s playbook’ as a policy aimed at protecting the national interest and traditional values, a view that has made not just Fico and Orbán popular, but also former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the Austrian Freedom Party and Germany’s Alternative for Germany, as well as ‘the populist (and pro-Russian) parties in Greece who, if voted into government, may hinder arms deliveries to Ukraine’. Orbán’s playbook, Lóránt writes, would do a lot of good to the leaders of the European Union as well.

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