Slovakia

Slovak Prime Minister Wins Less Than Expected, Votes Go to Neo-Nazis

Slovakia’s election was not short of surprises with some gaining more votes and some less than expected. Prime-minister Robert Fico eventually won the election but with fewer votes than he anticipated. Overall, his party Smer-SD gained roughly 29% of the votes, according to the nearly complete results.
The big surprise was the far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia, which won seats in Parliament for the first time. Mr Fico, a leftist, nationalist prime minister with a harsh anti-migrant rhetoric, lost much of his expected support and made it easier for the far-right party, led by Marian Kotleba, to be represented in Parliament after gaining more than 8% of the vote. Mr. Fico is in a real pickle now, as he will be forced to form a new government that is likely to be very divided. No fewer than eight parties are likely to be represented in it. Slovakia will take over EU presidency in July 2016.
 
 
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2 March 2016
 

Prime Minister’s War With Critical Journalists Puts off Slovak Voters

The Social-Democrat party Smer-SD in power in Slovakia now expects another victory in the upcoming elections on Saturday. But its leader’s unabated nastiness towards critical journalists might cost them some votes. 
 
Prostitutes, crooks, idiots, hyenas: this is what the incumbent prime minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, has repeatedly called those journalists who dared to ask him critical questions. The best that Slovak journalists could ever expect from Mr Fico at news conferences was to ignore a question and turn to another journalist. 
 
But Mr Fico’s bumptiousness and refusal to talk to some media seem to irk an increasing number of Slovaks, even those who support him and were planning to give him a vote on 5 March 2016.

Public Service Media in Europe: Exit Through the Back Door?

Recent turbulence at the Polish public broadcaster was seen by some observers as another political football game. Public broadcasting will survive any market or policy changes, however tumultuous they are, they say. But Minna Aslama argues that public TV has fallen out of political favor in many countries now. Even well-established broadcasters in western countries are likely to be dramatically downsized.

Poland has been featured in global news in the past weeks. A controversial law was passed that allowed the replacement of the directors of Polish public TV and radio with political appointees.

The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) notes that this may well be the first step by the Polish government in curbing all free media and commercial outlets. CIMA also reminds us that just a few years before Poland, Hungarians witnessed a severe media crackdown.