Slovakia: Fico gets his coalition together

Robert Fico is set to become prime minister of Slovakia for the fourth time after the social democratic Hlas party led by Peter Pellegrini — also a former prime minister — opted to form a coalition with Fico’s Smer party and the ultra-nationalist SNS instead of with the liberal Progresívne Slovensko, the Christian Democratic KDH and the pro-business SAS. Commentators are not happy.

Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

Push for dialogue at all levels

Ukraine must do everything it can to get the new, pro-Russian government on its side, writes Dmytro Konyshev, president of the Slovak-Ukrainian Business Agency, in Ukrainska Pravda:

“Is it possible to make Robert Fico a friend of our state (as he was at the beginning of his political career as prime minister)? There is no option but to talk, discuss and persuade at all levels — from President Zelensky to the Ukrainian ambassador to Slovakia. And also to organise visits to Ukraine. Visiting the scenes of Russian war crimes can sometimes even change the minds of pro-Russian politicians in the West.”

Dmitro Konischew
Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Experienced Fico the bigger gamble

The Süddeutsche Zeitung criticises Pellegrini’s decision to support Fico:

“He could have formed a coalition without Fico, joining forces with the second strongest party, the Liberals, and two other partners instead. But he said the Liberals were too inexperienced and the other two [parties] had already argued too much for his liking. ... Pellegrini has reserved the right to end his cooperation with Fico and the right-wing extremists if they turn away from the EU and Nato, but one shouldn’t count on that. Fico knows how to keep up appearances. Now he can become prime minister for the fourth time. He certainly has experience in the job — which is precisely why he is a far bigger gamble for his country than a fresh start with novices.”

Viktoria Grossmann
Sme (SK) /

A missed opportunity for the kingmaker

What was the point of Pellegrini parting ways with Fico three years ago and founding his own party, Hlas, Sme asks:

“The Hlas project has become pointless. Pellegrini is going back to Fico even though this will be a fatal embrace for his party. Pellegrini will probably secure Fico’s support for the presidential election and thus fulfil his personal ambitions. ... Pellegrini had a real opportunity to break with the past, pursue decent politics and stop Fico from robbing the country of even more years. He didn’t use this opportunity.”

Beata Balogová
Denník N (SK) /

No longer real members of Nato and the EU

Denník N describes what this coalition means for Slovakia’s foreign policy:

“Peter Pellegrini stresses that he will be the guarantor of Slovakia being firmly anchored in the European Union and Nato and that he will exit the coalition with Fico and the nationalist SNS in the event of a change to this. That sounds good. But in practice we’re likely to see Fico and others talking and doing outrageous things while the foreign minister, together with Pellegrini, is left to put out the fires and iron out the biggest problems with our allies. We will thus only be members of the EU and Nato formally, rather than in practice.”

Roman Pataj