SMER-SSD party leader Robert Fico outside his party's headquarters in Bratislava, Slovakia, Sept. 30, 2023. (Reuters Photo)
In a significant election outcome, Slovakia's former Prime Minister and leader of the populist Smer-SSD party, Robert Fico, has emerged victorious, winning the country’s election.
With the Smer-SSD party securing 23.3% of the vote, Fico is set to return to power. This victory has raised concerns about potential shifts in Slovakia's foreign policy, aligning it more closely with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's approach.
Analysts anticipate that a government led by Fico could bring substantial changes to Slovakia's foreign policy. Fico's party is known for its opposition to providing military aid to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.
Additionally, it holds critical views of the EU and NATO. Fico himself has pledged not to send any military support to Ukraine and has expressed a desire for improved relations with Russia.
This election outcome on Sunday suggests that Slovakia may veer closer to Hungary's political stance within the European landscape. Observers believe that Fico could become a new ally for Viktor Orban, aligning their countries' policies and positions.
“Slovakia will now be closer to the Hungarian approach than that of the majority of Europe," Slovakia analyst Tomas Koziak from the University of Political Sciences in the Czech city Kutna Hora told AFP.
"In Robert Fico, Orban will get a new ally," Koziak added.
Slovakia emerged as an independent country in 1993, following a peaceful split with the Czech Republic after Czechoslovakia shed four decades of totalitarian communist rule in 1989.