Slovakia: end of the Fico era?
Three-time Slovakian prime minister Robert Fico wants to leave politics and run for the post of constitutional judge. Fico was forced to resign ashead of government following mass protests in the aftermath of the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak. Commentators praise the decision to withdraw from politics but have doubts about whether the Constitutional Court is the right place for the former leader.
A proper withdrawal from politics
The daily Pravda, which has close ties to Fico's party Smer, welcomes the ex-prime minister's plan to withdraw completely from politics:
“Five years ago with his candidacy for the office of president, Fico was already thinking about an escape route from parliament and government politics. The switch to the Constitutional Court, by contrast, would actually be a farewell to politics as a whole. ...In [Prime Minister] Peter Pellegrini, Smer has found a political manager who is scandal-free. In addition, unlike his constantly embattled predecessor Fico, Pellegrini takes a much more relaxed approach to the task of being prime minister. And Fico's suitability as a legal expert for the Constitutional Court is beyond question.”
Post-communist genes prevail
Fico may be formally qualified for the office of Constitutional Court judge, but in other respects he is not a suitable candidate, says Denik's Slovakia expert Luboš Palata:
“During Fico's terms in office Slovakia was able to introduce the euro, catch up with the Czech Republic's living standards and attract many foreign investors. But Fico was never able to rid himself of his tainted image as a former communist with a penchant for populism and a network of influential entrepreneurs. He wanted to become a European politician, but his post-communist genes prevailed on the refugee issue. As a representative of Slovakia at the European Court of Human Rights he has acquired knowledge and experience. However, someone like him cannot become a constitutional judge in a respectable country.”