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Anti-Ukraine Robert Fico formally appointed Slovakia's new prime minister

by Martin Fornusek October 25, 2023 6:40 PM 2 min read
Robert Fico at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia on Oct. 2, 2023. (Vladimir Simicek/AFP via Getty Images)
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Slovakia's president has appointed the country's new government under the leadership of Robert Fico, head of the now-ruling pro-Russian party SMER (Direction), the Slovak news outlet SME reported on Oct. 25.

Fico's left-populist SMER, which came first in the Sep. 30 parliamentary elections with 22.9% of the vote, formed a new cabinet together with the social-democratic HLAS (Voice) party and the ultranationalist Slovak National Party (SNS).

SMER's candidates are to lead the country's defense and foreign ministries, as well as four other departments.

The appointment of SMER's Juraj Blanar as Slovakia's new foreign minister made headlines in Ukraine, as he previously called Russian aggression in 2014 a Ukrainian "civil war."

"It is my task to respect the results of the elections and to name the government that meets the conditions for a proper functioning," commented Zuzana Caputova, the country's liberal president whose past relationship with Fico has been rocky at best.

Slovakia halts military aid to Ukraine following election
The Slovak Defense Ministry had prepared a new assistance package for Ukraine that President Zuzana Čaputová could have signed while Fico’s predecessor was still in office. However, the president declined, saying the parliamentary elections must be respected.

The president raised objections last week to the new coalition's candidate for an environment minister. Rudolf Huliak, a pro-Russian SNS lawmaker who has denied climate change, was then replaced by far-right Tomas Taraba, who has a history with the neo-fascist LSNS party, the Guardian reported.

Fico, head of the Slovak government for the fourth time in his political career, has opposed military aid for Ukraine, promising that Bratislava will not send "a single cartridge" to Kyiv once he is in charge.

"You will hear a sovereign Slovak voice from our ministries and sovereign Slovak foreign policy," Fico promised upon his appointment.

The newly-named head of the Slovak government is also close to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, another Central European populist leader with friendly attitudes toward the Kremlin.

Slovakia has provided Ukraine with extensive humanitarian and military assistance under the previous governments, including artillery, fighter jets, and other support.

Peter Tkacenko: Slovakia after election – If not friend, certainly not enemy of Ukraine
Robert Fico’s Direction – Social Democracy (Smer) has secured victory in the latest Slovakelections with 23% of the vote. Ex-Prime Minister Fico, who expressed dissatisfaction with his country’s support ofneighboring Ukraine, has an open road to a third stint as the country’s prime minister. Yet,…
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