- The populist party of Slovakia's former Prime Minister Robert Fico, which reportedly wants to stop military aid to Ukraine, has won Saturday's parliamentary election.1
- According to preliminary results released by Slovakia's Statistical Office on Sunday, the Slovak Social Democracy (SMER-SD) party won 23.3%, while the liberal Progressive Slovakia party secured 17% of the votes.2
- Progressive Slovakia's leader Michal Šimečka, considered pro-Kyiv, said SMER-SD's win was 'bad news for the country,' adding, 'It will be even worse news if Fico forms the government.'3
- Meanwhile, Fico — forced to resign after investigative journalist Jan Kuciak's murder in 2018 — is expected to begin long and complicated coalition talks to form the next government.4
- After his victory, Fico told reporters: 'We're here, we're ready, we've learned something, we're more experienced,' adding, 'People in Slovakia have bigger problems than Ukraine.'5
- Though Slovakia, a NATO country, has supplied surface-to-air missiles and its entire fleet of retired MiG-29 fighter jets, Fico is a vocal critic of the EU's sanctions against Russia.6
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by American spectator. The fact that his party didn't secure a big enough share of the vote to govern on its own shows the true nature of Fico's win. He portrayed liberalism and human rights as more significant threats to citizens than widespread corruption and pro-Putin, pro-war sentiments. While Fico has emerged on top based on politics of fear, Slovakia needs EU modernization and recovery funds. It must think twice before conflicting with Brussels and challenge the EU consensus on supporting Ukraine.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Politico. It's an oversight to call Fico a pro-Russian politician. Slovakia is a peaceful country, and the former Prime Minister is simply concerned about maintaining its national sovereignty and peace in the region. While it's a NATO member, Slovakia needs to pay attention to the rising number of migrants passing through its territory to Western Europe as well as fix its budget deficit that's nearing 7% of gross domestic product this year — much more significant issues than the war in Ukraine.
- Cynical narrative, as provided by New York Times. Slovakia's parliamentary election wasn't about Ukraine but a fight between conservatism and liberalism and everyday issues like food and fuel prices. However, a Fico-led government could help bring into the mainstream calls for an end or reduction of military support to Kyiv — so far limited to Europe's right-wing political fringes — as SMER-SD's win indicates a pronounced crack in NATO and EU unity over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.