>Slovakia: Greens to take new direction?


Slovak right-leaning/liberal daily Smer reports on the difficult relationship with Slovakia’s Green Party. While the Greens in the neighbouring Czech Republic are a key part of a centre-right coalition and relations with the opposition Social Democrats are pretty icy, Slovak Greens, more conventionally, have signed a co-operation agreement with Robert Fico’s governing centre-left Smer (‘Direction’) party. (Having flopped in the early 1990s – as happened in so much of CEE – the Slovak Greens were previously part of the not too successful centre-left e coalition with post-communists and social democrats before Smer came crashing onto the political scene, so there is a of precedent ). However, Prime Minister Fico’s criticisms of radical environmental protesters in the Tatra national park have not endeared him to his new allies in the small extra-parliamentary Green Party and raised doubts about the supposed ‘greening’ of Smer, a party better known for its nationalist and populist inclinations than its post-materialist concerns.

The Greens have also laid into the government’s motorway building plans and are none too keen on the current Minister of the Environment, Ján Chrbet, a member of the radical Slovak National Party (SNS) and his ‘populist’ allocation of EU environmental funds. Commentators quoted by the right-leaning Smer dismiss the party’s ‘greening’ as a superficial exercise designed to boost its social democratic credentials in the eyes of West European partners. Given the Slovak Greens’ dissatisfaction and reasonably good 2.7% rating in recent polls, it looks like they may be tempted to go elsewhere and perhaps try their luck as Czech style eco-liberal party.

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