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Fico wins elections in Slovakia but needs allies

October 3rd, 2023

Commentators recall the ‘anti-Hungarian’ measures of the winner during his first term as prime minister, while a pro-government columnist welcomes Mr Fico’s stance against arms deliveries to Ukraine.

Mr Fico’s Smer party won 42 of the 150 seats in Slovakia’s Parliament on Saturday and will have to take two more parties on board, including the far-right SNS, to form a government. Prime Minister Orbán was among the first foreign statesmen to welcome his victory, posting a photo of the two men shaking hands with the caption: ‘Always good to work together with a patriot’.

On the Magyar Hang website, Szabolcs Szerető describes the outcome of the elections in Slovakia as a success for PM Orbán but a failure for ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia. He writes that the government and its media openly campaigned for Robert Fico, so many ethnic Hungarians felt that they should vote for or against Smer rather than support the new Hungarian Alliance. As a result, he writes, the latter has failed to reach the 5 percent parliamentary threshold. Szerető accuses Mr Orbán of considering Fico’s victory more important than the interests of the Hungarian minority. Meanwhile, he admits that ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia increasingly prefer influencing politics by supporting their choice of the many Slovak parties rather than by casting their votes for an ethnic Hungarian party.

On Mandiner, Mátyás Kohán, on the other hand, regrets the failure of the Hungarian minority to enter parliament, where it could have acted as a bulwark against anti-Hungarian measures. He admits that Mr Fico was guilty of such measures in the past and concedes that he deserved to be ousted from his seat as Prime Minister three years ago, as some of his people were active in hindering the investigation into the killing of a fact-finding journalist. If Hungary is ‘moderately happy’ with his electoral success, Kohán writes, it is not because all that has been forgotten, but because Fico is not subservient to Brussels and expresses the aversion of the population to arms sales to Ukraine. He is the least worst, not the best option, Kohán concludes.

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