Robert Fico’s Slovak Social Democracy is on track to become the largest party in the upcoming snap election in Slovakia. Fico has made headlines by calling for a ceasefire in Ukraine and vowing not to send any ammunition to Kiev if elected as prime minister.
According to recent polls compiled by Politico, Fico’s party currently holds a 20% lead, with the pro-Western Progressive Slovakia party in second place at 18% and the Voice – Social Democracy party in third place at 13%. No other party is polling above single digits.
The possibility of a Fico-led government has raised concerns in the European Union, as officials in Brussels fear that he could veto future military aid to Ukraine and vote against additional anti-Russia sanctions packages.
Fico previously served as prime minister of Slovakia from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2012 to 2018. He was forced to resign following allegations that one of his assistants was involved in the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak. Currently, Slovakia is governed by a government of unelected technocrats who have been providing significant military support to Ukraine, along with the previous liberal cabinet.
Slovakia has been actively involved in the conflict in Ukraine and has sent armored personnel carriers, howitzers, and its entire fleet of Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets to support the Ukrainian government. However, Fico has publicly criticized the EU’s sanctions on Russia and has placed blame for the conflict on what he refers to as “Ukrainian Nazis and fascists.”
Claiming that Slovakia is a peaceful country, Fico stated in a recent rally, “we will not send a single round [of ammunition] to Ukraine.” He believes that a peaceful resolution to the conflict can be found through negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Fico also expressed his belief that Russia will not withdraw from Crimea or the territories it controls.
Ahead of Saturday’s election, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has raised concerns about potential US meddling. The SVR accused the US State Department of sending instructions to its European allies to work with local political and business circles in order to prevent Fico from winning. The SVR claimed that the US has sanctioned the use of bribery, blackmail, and threats to influence the election.
Furthermore, the SVR alleged that if Progressive Slovakia leader Michal Simecka emerges as the winner, he has been instructed by the US to form a government that is loyal to Washington.
The outcome of the election in Slovakia will have significant implications for the country’s foreign policy, particularly its stance on Ukraine and Russia. A victory for Fico’s party could mean a shift away from Slovakia’s pro-Ukraine policy and closer ties with Russia. On the other hand, a win for the opposition parties, particularly the pro-Western Progressive Slovakia, may signal a continuation of the country’s support for Ukraine and alignment with EU policies.
As the election approaches, both domestic and international observers will closely monitor the results and the potential impact on Slovakia’s relations with Ukraine and Russia, as well as its position within the European Union.