The flagrant sale of Slovakia’s excess emissions quotas – accompanied by several other smaller, questionable deals – has led PM Robert Fico to decide to ignore the agreement between the ruling coalition parties on ministry appointments, and dismissed the Environment Minister Viliam Turský announcing that he would not accept any further nominees put forth by the Slovak National Party (SNS).


The PM said that he was making this decision being aware of all the risks that it brings, including the potential departure of SNS from the government, but added that he did not want the coalition partner to leave.



Analysis and forecast: increasing risk


Though all participants confirmed that SNS would not quit, statements following the meeting between the leadership of both the Smer and SNS party indicate a higher degree of tensions within the coalition. Broke-up is unlikely in the short term, but further conflicts are expected to emerge which can even worsen the relation between the two parties. Taking a glance to fresh polls, it is obvious that the broke-up is against both parties interests.


According to a recent FOCUS agency survey, the strongest political party is still the Smer-SD, which would have gained a 38.5-percent support if an election had been carried out in early August on a sample of 1,038 respondents. Furthermore this is the first survey that polled both Hungarian parties above the 5-percent threshold: SMK party would gain 6.3 percent, while the newly-emerged non-parliamentary Most-Hid (Bridge) would gain 5.2 percent.


The balance of forces seems quite different when focusing on Median’s July survey: the PM’s party seems much stronger (see chart below), the new Hungarian formation was not even interrogated, while intends for participation are significantly different: according to the FOCUS agency, only 18 percent of the respondents said that they wouldn't vote, while 17.9 percent said that they didn't know how to answer or didn't want to do so. The Median polled that 27 percent would definitely take part in the elections and 26.5 percent said they might do so.


All in all, balance of forces seems frozen when checking only Median agency’s latest 3 months polls, while FOCUS surveyed a backing for Smer quite close to the party’s real June result when gaining only 32% at the European Parliamentary elections. On the other hand, the Median’s turnout prognosis seems much more realistic than FOCUS’s one, being aware of the fact that in June less then 20% of voters participated.


The probably still low voting intention, the worsening economic trends and coalition tensions can easily melt Smer’s popularity by the 2010 elections. Regarding the Hungarian chances, combat for the representation of the minority can intensify between the two parties, but it is not out of the question that the competition ends up in an electoral cooperation in the mid-term.



Source: Median agency, FOCUS agency