A Fistful of Euros has an interesting post on the governing coalition just formed in Slovakia. Although a left-of-centre party, Smer, was effectively the victor in the elections, the parties that it has formed a coalition of…well, have a whiff of sulphur about them, to say the least.
Doug Muir of A Fistful describes the coalition partners as follows:
This is a rather creepy combination. It is rather, well, nationalist socialist. The xenophobic SNS is best known for making hateful statements about Hungarians and Roma and is also associated with anti-Semitism and homophobia. The HZDS is a bunch of sleazy ex-Communists best known for looting state assets under Meciar.
One is the party of former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, whose autocratic, anti-democratic style did its best to keep Slovakia internationally isolated for much of the 1990s; the other, the Slovak National Party (SNS) is arguably far worse.
Here are some statements attributed to the Party’s leader, Ján Slota:
“Hungarians are the cancer of the Slovak nation. Without delay we need to remove them from the body of the nation”
“Jozef Tiso is one of the great sons of the Slovak nation.” (Tiso was the leader of the Slovak Axis puppet state during WWII. Under him, 60,000 Jews were deported to concentration camps. He was executed as a war criminal in 1946.)
“We are negativist only in saying that parasites have to be eliminated, and parasites are simply those who don’t want to work, and the fact that among those people are 95% of all Gypsies is just reality.”
“The best policy for [Gypsies] is a long whip in a small yard.”
In the 1990s, when Slovakia’s policies threatened to send the country into international isolation, the EU was a force for massive good, as indeed it has been across much of Central and Eastern Europe, holding out the incentives associated with membership and integration in the event that the country turned its back on Meciarism: the EU currently continues to play a broadly similar role in Croatia. Since Slovakia became a full EU member in 2004, carrots and sticks are not so easy for any outsiders to find.
The question is, what now? Best to keep an eye on them, anyway. They sound rather more unpleasant than even some elements in the new Polish Government.