>Slovakia: In a right mess

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The woes of Slovakia’s centre-right Christian Democratic parties continue apace. Three deputies of the Christian Democrat Movement (KDH) have quit to found a Conservative Democratic Party (KDS), which, they say, will be more resolutely committed supporting traditional values and targeting financial support to (traditional) families. Meanwhile dissident members of the more liberal Slovak Christian and Democratic Union (SDKÚ) of ex-Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda (itself originally a breakaway from KDH) have been kicked out of the party for allegedly breaking resolutions not to air internal disputes in public. Their platform is a vaguer one of ‘generational change’ and renewal, outlined in a platform called Time for Change. The key generational change seems to be getting rid of Dzurinda, recently re-elected but seen as an electoral liability. Those expelled include several deputies and important elements of SDKÚ’s Bratislava organisation, where the party is strongest. Who know perhaps they will found a new party too? To complete the picture, we should perhaps add that Slovakia also has a further mainstream centre-right party – the electorally weak, but intellectually more influential Civic Conservative Party (OKS), which has never one parliamententary representation, who espouse a kind of Czech-style neo-con/neo-liberal fusion. The Slovak centre-right is clearly paying the price in opposition for its fragmented structure. This seem to provide cracks along which it fractures in the face of underlying strategic dilemmas: how to manage in a country with an electorate seemingly more inclined to the centre-left than centre-right; and what does being on the Christian Democratic right actually means in Slovak. The Czech right faced a rather similar situation in 2002, but with the crucial difference that the right is basically united in a single party, ODS, and that its long servingbut discredited leader Václav Klaus (finally) decided to step down.

Meanwhile, in the Slovak governing coalition things seem to have got rather jolly again. Vladimír Mečiar even recommends Prime Minister Robert Fico as Slovakia’s next president. Presumably, given the relative weakness of the Slovak presidency, Fico will resist this flattering offer. I suppose the idea of semi-presidential regime might distantly take his fancy, but he does not have the votes to change the constitution.

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