Robert Fico (C) during an earlier campaign event
It was a roller-coaster ride down to the final countdown, but Robert Fico has finally been announced as the clear winner of the 2023 parliamentary elections in Hungary’s northern neighbor, the Slovak Republic. The political national conservative’s success could bring back much needed political cooperation among the Visegrad 4 allies (Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Czechia).
Slovak President Zuzana Caputová is expected to ask Robert Fico to start negotiations about forming a government today. The leader of the SMER-SD party’s only hope of forming a government is to convince Peter Pellegrini, the chairman of the third most successful party in the elections, to join him in a government.
The runners up, the hard-left Progressive Slovakia (PS), have only managed 17 percent on election night, crushing Washington and Brussel’s hopes for a government entirely in tune with US policy towards the conflict in Ukraine. As far as the left-dominated EU leadership is concerned, the pro-migration and Europhile PS would have been a reliable ally in Brussel’s frozen conflict with the conservative government of Viktor Orbán in the south. It was not to be though.
PS, led by the 39 year-old Vice-President of the European Parliament, Michal Simecka, had immediately pledged to do literally “everything” to stop Fico’s SMER from forming a government. In practical terms, this could only mean offering Pellegrini the post of prime minister in return for a coalition against Fico.
The greatest losers of the entire elections seem to have been the polling agencies who have consistently put the radical left-wing PS on par with Fico’s SMER in polls, and in recent days they have even projected the progressives as the possible winners. The greatest shock came on election night, when the two largest exit-polls have projected PS as the winner with a one to three percent margin. Only in the early morning hours, after the actual votes had been counted did it transpire that the national-conservatives won by a whopping six percent. Some commenters have suggested poll-manipulation favoring the radical left, yet the pollsters have got the chances of the nationalists, Republika, wrong as well. They were projected to win some eight to nine percent, eventually not reaching the five percent threshold either.
As far as the Hungarian minority party, the Alliance (Szövetség), is concerned, they did not manage to reach the five percent threshold needed to enter parliament. With a 4.4 percent result, they were short some 20,000 votes. Their leader, Krisztián Forró, has pledged to take personal political responsibility for the result.
After the results were announced, a clearly joyous Viktor Orbán tweeted “Guess who’s back! Congratulations to Robert Fico on his undisputable victory at the Slovak parliamentary elections. Always good to work together with a patriot. Looking forward to it!”
Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó wrote on Facebook that “We are pleased that the people of Slovakia have made a clear choice in an unquestionably democratic election. The election result gives us a chance to re-establish a stable government in Slovakia and to further develop Slovak-Hungarian relations. Robert Fico also thinks about war, migration, and gender in the same way as we do. His victory offers a strong chance to strengthen the V4 alliance,” wrote the minister.
The expressions “indisputable” and “unquestionable” in the messages of Hungarian top politicians above are a sign that the government in Budapest wants to preempt any questioning of the results by the global left. No sooner had the election results been announced on Sunday morning, than the international legacy press had started its character assassination campaign against Fico, calling him far-right, pro-Putin, anti-Ukraine, among others. Fico, however, is probably none of the above, he is simply calling for ending the conflict in Ukraine through peace negotiations instead of weapons shipments. He is also a politician who has nurtured good relations with the two conservative-led governments, Poland to the north, and Hungary to the south in the past, which had earned him a number of attacks from Brussels as well as from Washington.
Featured Image: Facebook Robert Fico