Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová has appointed the country’s new coalition government, led by long-serving former Prime Minister Robert Fico. The vote comes one month after Fico’s centre-left-turned-populist Smer-SSD party won the country’s parliamentary elections and after they successfully concluded coalition talks with the centre-left Hlas-SD party of fellow ex-PM Peter Pellegrini and the nationalist Slovak National Party (SNS).
Within the coalition deal, Fico’s Smer will control key ministries such as foreign affairs, defence, finance and justice, while Pellegrini’s Hlas, which was instrumental in Fico’s return to power, will hold a highly influential role within the new government, with Pellegrini rumoured to be considering a run for president in 2024. The nationalist SNS will control two ministries, with an additional ministry to be set up next January.
Fico’s fourth government could have wide-reaching and immediate political and policy implications for Slovakia and the EU. The returning PM is widely expected to join Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in opposing the EU’s sanctions regime against Russia and financial aid to war-torn Ukraine, while critics say the government’s planned personnel changes in Slovak law enforcement could also lead to domestic opposition and international criticism.
Below, Aretera takes a deeper look at the aftermath of this crucial election.