Opposition Gains Clear Victory in Slovak Election

  • The center-right OLaNO party is by far the most powerful force.
  • The multi-year rule of Direction-Social Democracy has been broken.
  • Matovic has a long history of political stunts and cheeky provocation as an MP.

The opposition won a clear victory in parliamentary elections in Slovakia Saturday. Entrepreneur Igor Matovic’s center-right Ordinary People party (OLaNO) obtained more than 25% of the votes, more than double his party’s 2016 figure (11%). Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini’s Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD) party suffered heavy losses, eventually accounting for 18.3% (2016: 28.3%).

Parliamentary elections were held in Slovakia on 29 February 2020. Center-right OĽaNO won 53 seats (+34), center-left Smer-SD 38 (-11), right-wing Sme Rodina 17 (+6) far-right ĽSNS 17 (+3), center-right SaS 13 (-8), and centrist Za ľudí 12 (+12).

As announced by the Central Electoral Administration in the capital Bratislava on Sunday, OLaNO is by far the most powerful force. In the morning, more than 98% of the votes were counted. The results largely matched the predictions of a post-election survey on Saturday.

Tough coalition talks are emerging because many believe the opposition politician Matovic, is unpredictable. Political scientist Lubomir Kopecek pointed out that “some words like seriousness and government responsibility seem to have nothing to do with him.”

Government to Fight Corruption

This is the first parliamentary election since the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancé, Martina Kusnirova, two years ago. This cold-blooded murder has led to large-scale demonstrations against corruption.

Matovic, 46, is committed to fighting corruption. He said after the election on television that he wanted to speak to those who had lost confidence in politics. Matovic ran under the slogan, “Together Against the Mafia.” He said he wanted to serve all 5.4 million Slovaks, not just the top 10,000. The abbreviation OLaNO stands for “Ordinary People and Independent Personalities.”

“We will try to create the best government Slovakia has ever had, with the help of the other leaders of the democratic opposition,” Matovic said. “It was the death of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova that woke up Slovakia,” he added.

Ján Kuciak was a Slovak investigative journalist for the news website Aktuality.sk, focused mainly on investigating tax fraud of several businessmen with connections to top-level Slovak politicians. He and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, were shot dead in February 2018 in their home in Veľká Mača, Galanta District, Slovakia.

Defeat of the Social Democrats

To date, the most powerful force has ended an era. The left-wing populist Smer-SD party in parliament has been the most powerful force since 2006. Outgoing Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini succeeded Robert Fico, who had been Prime Minister twice since 2006.

The right-wing Slovak National Party (SNS) and Hungarian minority’s Most-Hid missed the 5% threshold, losing all their seats in the unicameral National Council. “Congratulations to the election winner, good health, good luck,” Pellegrini told Matovic. “He has good marketing, but we will be interested in how he will handle his office.”

Vote Online

Matovic has a long history of political stunts and cheeky provocation as an MP. He recently went live on Facebook from Cannes, to the villa of the former Social Democratic Finance Minister. He and fellow OLaNO MP’s posted a “Property of the Slovak Republic” sign on the house, accusing the former minister of fleecing taxpayers. Slovakia, along with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, belongs to the Visegrad Group, which is fighting the redistribution of refugees in Europe.

Call to Rest

“People, stay calm-there will be no quotas and no illegal immigrants will be smuggled into Slovakia,” he assured during the television debate. Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia until 1993, has been a member of the European Union and NATO since 2004, and joined the Eurozone in early 2009. It has about 5.4 million inhabitants.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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