Should Slovakia be relieved after the elections?

After almost 14 years the Slovaks have definitively ended the era of ex-prime minister Robert Fico. His party Smer, which has been in government until now, suffered heavy losses in the parliamentary elections. The winner of the elections is entrepreneur Igor Matovič and his conservative protest party Oľano. He has good chances of forming a coalition with liberal and conservative parties. Commentators are cautiously optimistic.

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Denník N (SK) /

Now Matovič must do more than just protest

Slovakia is not lost after all, writes Matúš Kostolný, editor-in-chief of Dennik N, in sublime terms:

“We can celebrate. As difficult as it may be with Matovič, it's clear that tomorrow will be better than yesterday was with Fico. Of course, if we lived in a normal country Fico would have stepped down two years ago after the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová. These two years have shown how gravely Slovakia is wounded. It's good to know that people have understood that. ... Election winner Matovič deserves congratulations and praise, because he was the one who best understood the state of the country. But he must realise that more is expected of him now. So far he has only shouted, protested and warned about what everyone else is doing wrong. Now he must rule.”

Népszava (HU) /

No guarantee of change

The voting out of corrupt politicians does not automatically lead to profound change, Népszava argues:

“With a resolve unprecedented in Slovakia's history, voters have called for change and a break with the regime dominated by Fico. Nevertheless, there is no guarantee that everything will be different now in Slovakia. ... Matovič raises a number of questions. He is indeed considered a clean politician who wants to take clear action against corrupt politicians. But these days he has no qualms about resorting to populism either. ... After the election he said he was striving for a constituent majority. This statement seems to herald a four-party government. But as things stand now it's difficult to imagine how these ideologically disparate parties could work together smoothly in one government.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Liberal is the new dirty word

For the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the election results are bad news:

“The very party that ushered President Zuzana Čaputová into office a year ago did not even manage to make it into the parliament. Its tolerant attitude and objective stance didn't help. That party could have been a dependable partner for the EU in Central Europe, particularly for Germany and France. Instead, the populist Igor Matovič, who wants to build alliances with parties that stoke fear of migrants and show little respect for minorities will take power. They have turned 'liberal' into a dirty word... Evil has lost, but it remains to be seen whether Good has won.”