Slovakia’s new government, led by populist Prime Minister Robert Fico, who ended military aid to Ukraine, won the mandatory vote of confidence in parliament, the Associated Press reported.
Of the 143 MPs present in the 150-seat parliament, 78 voted in support of the three-party coalition governmentwho was sworn in on October 25.
Fico returned to power and assumed the post of Prime Minister for the fourth time after his scandalous left-wing Smer (“Direction”) party won the parliamentary elections in Slovakia on September 30 with a pro-Russian and anti-American platform.
Fico formed a parliamentary majority by signing a coalition government agreement with the left-wing Glas party and the ultra-nationalist Slovak National Party.
Fico’s victory could mark a dramatic turnaround in the country’s foreign policy and strain fragile unity in the European Union and NATOAP admits.
Slovakia, a country of 5.5 million people that shares a border with Ukraine, has been a staunch supporter of Kiev since Russia’s invasion last February, donating weapons and opening its borders to refugees fleeing the war.
Fizo stopped military aid. He also opposes EU sanctions against Russia and wants to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO.
Fico’s critics fear his return to power could lead Slovakia to abandon its pro-Western course in other ways, following the example of Viktor Orbán’s Hungary.
Fico promised to pursue a “sovereign” foreign policy, to take a hard line on migration and NGOs and campaigned against the rights of the LGBT+ community. Some elite investigators and police officers dealing with corruption cases have been ordered to stay home or fired, and the government plans to ease penalties for corruption, among other changes to the justice system.
Since the previous government took power in 2020 after waging an anti-corruption campaign, dozens of senior officials, police officers, judges, prosecutors, politicians and businessmen linked to Smer have been charged and convicted of corruption and other crimes. The cases of a number of other individuals are still pending.
Fico himself and his former interior minister, Robert Kaliniak, were accused last year of creating a criminal group and abuse of power. Kaliniak is the Minister of Defense in the new government.
Known for his tirades against journalists, Fizzo has named one major television network, two national newspapers and an online news site as his enemies and said he would not associate with them.