>European Socialists may soften line on Slovakia’s SMER

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Slovak liberal daily Sme reports that some Austrian and German Social Democrats are willing to consider re-admitting Robert Fico’s SMER into the Party of European Socialists, despite its coalition with the extreme, Hungarian-ophobe Slovak National Party (SNS), or at least to take some steps to normalizing relations. Pragmatic reasons seem to inform this step: Fico, despite some rather paranoid sounding attacks on the media, seems not in practice to have steered a reasonable respectable course policy-wise and keep SNS at arm’s length. Essentially, it appears they are buying into Fico’s justification that such a coalition can be innocuous and indeed means of managing extremists. The fact that SMER is riding high the polls and is clearly not going to disappear as a dominant political force might also have something to do with it. Will it I wonder lead to a broader reappraisal about Social Democrats engaging with the darker populist inclinations of working class voters and others left behind by reform?

PES will review SMER’s suspension at a meeting on 4 October. SMER’s only strong ally in PES at a party level have been the Czech Social Democrats.

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