- The Slovak Election Commission has registered 18 parties for elections set for June 12. The campaign period officially starts on May 22. Parties had to pay an election deposit of €16,596 in order to run. The Interior Ministry will return the payment within one month after the election to parties or coalitions that win at least 2% of valid votes. The Conservative Democrats of Slovakia (KDS) party says it will not contest the elections because the deposit would render the party penniless.
- Iveta Radičová, vice president of the opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) and former presidential candidate, will lead the party’s list on elections in June. All other parties that have a chance of entering Parliament have named their party leader to the top spot.
- The Slovak National Party (SNS) has only disclosed the names of the first 10 candidates on its list, but emphasised that the list will include all the ex-ministers whom Prime Minister Robert Fico fired amid corruption scandals. This would include former Construction and Environment Minister Igor Štefanov, who was forced to step down in March.
- The Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, which is not currently in Parliament, improved its chances after announcing that Daniel Krajcer, a well-known host of TV political debates, would occupy the fifth spot on its party list. Krajcer has a reputation for being credible critic.
Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk
Combined support for the main opposition parties is once again higher than support for the governing Smer party. Still, Smer’s two coalition partners, the SNS and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) are expected to make it into Parliament, even though both are polling just above the 5% threshold for parliamentary representation (as are the two Hungarian ethnic parties). The uncertainty over how many parties will pass the threshold makes it impossible to calculate the end result. Smer will certainly win the most mandates, but it is unlikely to gain an absolute majority. The possibility of a coalition between Smer and the ethnic-Hungarian Híd-Most party cannot be ruled out.
Although some analysts think Ms. Radičová's ascendancy indicates a willingness to change within the SDKÚ, a significant overhaul of the party’s politics is unlikely. Mikuláš Dzurinda remains the party’s chairman and Radičová, despite being quite popular, lacks an image of success: She lost last year’s presidential vote and still gets attacked for having cast a vote in Parliament for an absent colleague.
The SNS’s confrontation decision to include fallen politicians on its list is understandable: The party wants to demonstrate that it is in good condition and that the accusations against its former ministers are baseless. But it can hardly be considered an effective strategy when Smer, which is in a much more stable position, is openly trying to poach former SNS voters.
The SNS has no choice but to get even more radical: Party leader Ján Slota recently made the ridiculous claim that Hungary is planning a military attack on Slovakia. Slota is not being naïve, but shrewd: In Hungary, the right-wing Fidesz party is all but certain to win the April parliamentary elections and the ultranationalist Jobbik party may come in second place. This may spook Slovakia’s many Hungaro-phobic voters. Also, the 90th anniversary of Treaty of Trianon, which partitioned Hungary after World War I and created an independent Czechoslovakia, falls on June 4 – just one week before Slovakia’s election. Hungarian radicals are expected to hold demonstrations in both Hungary and Hungarian-majority regions in neighbouring countries, including Slovakia. These gatherings will likely mobilize anti-Hungarian voters and benefit the SNS. This is why Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) wants to delay the Trianon commemorations to June 13.