What can stop the neo-Nazis in Slovakia?
The right-wing extremist party LS-Naše Slovensko and its leader Marian Kotleba won enough votes in the general election in March to enter parliament for the first time. The press is shocked that the party secured the support of 24 percent of the first-time voters. What can stop Kotleba's advance?
Kotleba not just playing the anti-Semitism card
Because it was mainly first-time voters who helped the far-right LS-Naše Slovensko party to its success in the March elections, academics and teachers are calling for history lessons to include visits to concentration camps. That won't be enough, Dennik N fears:
“Today's fascists and Nazis have more than one issue for attracting voters. It would be naïve to believe we only need to tackle one of those issues. A history teacher wrote to us telling us that she showed her class a film about the Holocaust and some of the pupils said afterwards: 'We feel sorry for the Jews but we will still vote for Kotleba.' Anti-Semitism is not the reason why they vote for the LSNS. … Right-wing extremists change too. Today all they need is migrants, the Roma or the EU. All of them pose an immediate 'threat' to their voters, not just a few Jews.”
Radicalism has its causes
The appeal of Marian Kotleba and his neo-Nazi party LS-Naše Slovensko party has reached beyond far-right voters for some time now, the Hungarian-language daily Új Szó warns:
“The fact is that the basis of support for Kotleba and his movement - frustration, a lack of prospects, hatred of 'parasites', peppered with false news stories and conspiracy theories - has been growing silently and long since spread beyond those sections of society that are traditionally most susceptible to extreme political views. It is still not clear what impact this new force will have on society. But here too it is crucial that rather than simply condemning Kotleba and the LS-Naše Slovensko we must address the real problems that have led to their rise. Only in this way can the Kotleba phenomenon be countered effectively.”