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SLOVAKIA: Fico: Slovakia has more important problems than dealing with Ukraine

Smer leader tells the country to calm down.

Compiled by Spectator staff

Courtesy of The Slovak Spectator [website: https://spectator.sme.sk]

di Emanuele G. - domenica 1 ottobre 2023 - 665 letture

Slovakia has more pressing problems than Ukraine, Robert Fico told journalists when asked about his stance on support for Slovakia’s neighbour after his party emerged in first place following the September 30 parliamentary election. Fico said he expects to be asked by the president to form the next ruling coalition.

"We are waiting for the phone call from the president," Fico told journalists when asked whether he had already started talks with other parties that have made it into parliament. Observers see a coalition of Smer, Hlas and the Slovak National Party (SNS) as the most likely option.

In his first address to the media early afternoon on Sunday, October 1, Fico said that he wants the country to stop and calm down. Following a heated and hate-fuelled campaign during which he refused to speak to selected media, including the Sme daily (The Slovak Spectator’s sister paper), Fico said he wished for good relations with the media and with his counterparts in politics.

Fico downplays likely changes

Fico’s possible victory has been viewed with concern by partners in NATO and the EU. His campaign messages included a halt in Slovakia’s aid to Ukraine.

Related article Fico is on his way to becoming prime minister, again Read more

Fico is now telling journalists that Slovakia’s foreign policy orientation will not change under his watch – but that does not mean he will not criticise the EU or the West’s involvement in the war in Ukraine.

"Our position remains unchanged," Fico said, insisting that his party will call for immediate peace talks.

Hlas leader Peter Pellegrini, whose party will have to decide whether to go with Smer or opt for a potential coalition involving Progresívne Slovensko, the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), and SaS, said that if Smer wants to team up with Hlas it will have to be ready for compromises when it comes to foreign policy. Hlas wants Slovakia to remain anchored in the EU and NATO, Pellegrini said in comments to public-service broadcaster RTVS.

Fico for prime minister

It is customary in Slovakia that the president to assign the leader of the party that has won the most votes the first chance to form a government backed by a parliamentary majority.

Related article A Smer government is not the only option. There are two plausible alternatives Read more

Fico told journalists that he will vie for the prime-ministerial post, but he sees no reason to lead any coalition talks before receiving the formal assignment from the president.

"We will sit at the Smer headquarters, waiting for a phone call from the president," he told journalists on Sunday afternoon.

Fico said he plans to take a couple of weeks to talk about programmes with other political parties, and that after that they will talk about forming a government.

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