Experts are concerned

Assassination will radicalize Slovakia even more

16.05.2024 06:49

According to experts, the assassination attempt on Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico will change Slovakia. Although such incidents should unite society, Slovakian political scientists believe that they will radicalize it even more.

Fico was allegedly shot by a critic after a government meeting in the town of Handlová on Wednesday. The Slovakian government saw a political motive behind the act.

"I think it (the assassination, ed.) will lead to an even greater radicalization of society than before. I do not expect the political elites to be able to send a signal that this must not go on, that this is not the right way," Juraj Marušiak, a political scientist from the Institute of Political Science at the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV), told the daily newspaper "Pravda".

It is in the hands of politics
According to Radoslav Štefančík, a political scientist at the University of Economics in Bratislava, the situation depends on how the attack is perceived by opinion-forming politicians. "This could be the moment when society realizes that politics is only about petty wars and there is no reason to spread hatred against each other," he told Pravda.

However, some members of the ruling coalition reacted very sharply. They blamed the media and the opposition for the attack. For example, the deputy speaker of parliament Ľuboš Blaha from Fico's left-wing nationalist party Smer expressed his "deep indignation" at the political opposition and liberal media, which he said had spread hatred.

Nationalists speak of "war"
The leader of the nationalist party SNS, Andrej Danko, also blamed the journalists for the attack and described the journalists as "dirty pigs". He said that a political war was beginning for the SNS at this stage.

"After the first hateful reactions of some Smer and SNS politicians, I assume that the polarization in Slovakia has not yet reached its peak," Štefančík said. He expects "that the attacks on the media and NGOs will increase", added Marušiak. The political scientist believes that this will lead to an escalation of the already high tensions in society.

Slovakia is deeply divided
Slovakia is a highly polarized country, and the rift often runs right through friendships and families. A section of society is highly critical of the government and has accused Fico of increasingly steering the country towards an authoritarian, Russia-friendly course along the lines of Viktor Orbán in Hungary. Since the end of last year, anti-government protests have taken place in all major cities across the country.

Zitat Icon

Nothing can protect us from madmen.

Juraj Marušiak, Politologe

Fico stopped military aid to Ukraine, replaced the leadership of the police and important state authorities and initiated a controversial judicial reform and media policy. At the end of April, the Slovakian government decided to dissolve the public broadcaster RTVS.

Marušiak pointed out that the attack so far looked like the action of a single "madman". "Nothing can protect us from madmen, not even in a situation where society is not in such a state of confrontation as it is now."

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