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Slovakia’s 9-month election marathon, marked by Fico’s comeback and EU election scepticism

Slovakia is in the midst of 9 months of elections: voters are asked to go to the polls four times between September 2023 and June 2024. They already elected a new Slovak parliament; Robert Fico made a huge comeback and became prime minister for the fourth time. 

In March and April Slovakia elected the new president who will replace Zuzana Čaputová, first female president in Slovak history. After fierce battle and high turnout, former PM and Fico’s ally Peter Pellegrini will become the new Slovak president. And in June Slovak voters will elect 15 members of the European Parliament. 

With this in mind none should be surprised that a few weeks before European elections there is basically no campaign taking place. We can see only a few billboards in the streets and one is expecting that the turnout in June after this exhausting year won’t be very high.

It would be nothing new. Slovakia has been a member of the European Union for 20 years. Since then we have voted in four European elections. Slovakia had the lowest turnout among all countries in the EU in every one of them, even after new Balkan states such as Croatia or Bulgaria joined the bloc.

Our lowest turnout was 13% in 2014. Five years later turnout was higher – but still slightly above 22%. It shows that Slovak voters don’t pay much attention to the European Parliament or don’t feel that few Slovak MEPs can make much difference even though two of them had been vice-president of the European Parliament recently. 

The debate in Slovak politics in the last months is focused on the new government which has followed the steps of the Hungarian or former Polish government at a fast pace. Robert Fico has been accused of corruption during previous terms. He stepped down in 2018 after the most massive protests in recent Slovak history which were triggered by the murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kušnírová. 

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