Government Falls Playing Wrong Hand; Fico Should Take Power

Robert Fico and Robert Kalinak of Smer-SD will be overjoyed at the no-confidence vote

At 10.15 pm the Slovak government failed to pass the test of a confidence vote, which Prime Minister Iveta Radicova brought on by combining it with the crucial vote on increasing the capacity of the EFSF bailout fund for the eurozone.

The ritual suicide by the Slovak government coalition took place before the eyes of the world and the markets, and although the EFSF bill will most likely be passed anyway with the help of the opposition party Smer-SD, the Slovak government in its current form is at its end.

In a final appeal to the consciences of the 124 present MPs, PM Radicova begged them to unite and not put Europe and the world in the same kind of situation again. This appeal fell on deaf ears, though, as the vote ended as expected with 55 for, 9 against and 60 abstaining from the vote.

Did the three coalition parties really think they could use the potential fall of the government to blackmail the SaS into backing off from its stance? If it were a game of poker, then with the right poker face they might just have got away with it, but with such a principal rejection of the current EFSF proposal by the SaS, surely they should, and could, have played their hand differently.

By combining the vote, it was obvious that Fico’s Smer-SD party would not vote at all, and without any agreement the SaS party was also not going to just kneel before the coalition and be subversive. Radicova, supported by the rest of the coalition, basically handed all the chips to her predecessor Robert Fico, who couldn’t believe his luck after the PM announced yesterday that she would link the two issues.

Now the ball falls into President Ivan Gasparovic’s court, and he will most likely opt to hand the baton of power back to his old ally Robert Fico and his Smer-SD party, which would then get the chance to form a government. There are various possible constellations here, such as combining forces with the Christian democrats of the KDH party.

The President could choose one of the coalition MPs to head the government instead of the PM, but this is an unlikely scenario. Another option would be to hold early elections, which the Smer-SD party of Robert Fico would certainly win, as it has led the polls with around 40% for some time already.

At a press conference after the failed vote, a clearly angry PM Iveta Radicova apologised to the people of Slovakia and called on SaS Richard Sulik and his ministers to be men and resign. She referred to the whole affair as an own goal, but who actually scored it is something to be debated.

Former PM and foreign minister Mikulas Dzurinda hinted that the next government could be composed of Fico’s Smer-SD, Sulik’s SaS and controversial Jan Slota’s nationalist party SNS, but this concept sounds more like populist rhetoric than a feasible option.

The coalition partners that were in favour of the EFSF will now combine with Fico’s Smer-SD to push through the bill and allow the eurozone to move forward as soon as possible. The only victim in this story is the Slovak Republic itself, as it shot itself in the foot and will now limp around Europe as that country that causes all the trouble over money. What happens now is anybody’s guess, because in this country nothing is written in stone.


  1. Marek , now is the best time of year to sniff , with the tram widows closed and the heaters full on, to discover the delights of festering of Slovak old lady’s (and gentlemen) bathed in pee , booze and BO .. Showering at least once a day is far from normal for most elder Slovaks …it means spending money ! ….and as for the 2.50 euro price a can deodorant , well that is the price of a 2ltr bottle cheap red wine in a plastic bottle, or something made of pork fat for a wholesome health treat to have with bread .

    1. amazes me how almost every conversation from you comes back to take a shot at the Slovaks, even when the subject here is that a government has fallen.

      1. Why do I amaze you John ? Don’t you ever wonder when watching STV news, how Slovaks always seem to drop off to sleep at the car wheel , (when actually ) paralytic drunk , just as they are passing the ONLY tree in that entire section of road and hit then it, dead center between the headlights ??

        BTW , Only the Slovaks could discuss a forgone conclusion and for 5 or more hours , because all of them just must give their own opinion …It is the same in the work place and why nothing proactive ever happens here .

  2. ‘Friends of Richard Sulik regard him as a very astute and honest businessman.’ Well they would, wouldn’t they? Many people I know regard him as a self-important twit.

    I do believe there’s room for a socially liberal, economically right of centre party in Sk, as a counterweight to Figel and his insufferable bunch if nothing else, but Sulik and SaS have just been a silly bunch of would-be populists from the start.

    Radicova, of course, has finally paid the price for her constant use of emotional blackmail. She got her own way with it a couple of times but this was once too often.

    Anyway George, wish I’d had a bet with you back in July when I said the government ‘wouldn’t last the year’. A nice tipple of something at your expense would have been nice. At least it would have eased the pain of having to face up to the prospect of the next Fico administration.

    1. Actually James it will run until March …and that is a long time in politics . Not sure I would keep to any agreement made with a two face shite like Fico …not after his own antics in the situation …..I would renege for a year or two, just to see him red face and explode on TV , at one of his sermon’s on the mounts , …….sorry press conferences .

      Just who is going to do business with him BTW ? Will he get over 50% of the vote , I think not ….He must avoid the SNS, if they can even creep over the 5% , as they are an liability ( crooks ) …so will do the deal ?

      1. It will limp on until March as a ‘caretaker’ administration, yes, but even in the inconceivable event that the same coalition forms around SDKU again, it’s not the same government.

        Mostly agree about Fico, though. It would be truly depressing if he was able to govern outright. If he only needed one partner and SNS didn’t have their 5%, I’d have thought KDH, whose pledges not to work with him before the last election do seem a long time ago now – to say nothing of their other hypocrisies. If SNS aren’t a player, perhaps even Most-Hid. March is a long time, true, but I think not long enough for the whole Euro issue to have gone away by then.

        The BBC line on the whole thing is ‘political rivals making an agreement’ which brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘positive spin’.

  3. I agree with both George and you John, however be honest to yourself, there are plenty of places with a more progressive line that SK has. I never had to stand in line AND get yelled at at the health office in Germany, only here. I never had a doctor say my kids’ inflamed tick bite was a needless waste of time in Italy, admit it, this is a frustrating place to live and why most people who can fly the coop. And George, one of the main reasons i’ll be heading out next year is all the stench on the trams or the fact that i’d love to be able to ride my bike w/o risking my life every time. your are sure right about that stink though.

    1. Yes Marek, I am well aware of the cultural and social inadequacies here, but I am just so humble that I can handle it (;-D). My personal hates here include the quality of roads and the people who drive on them, and the locked doors at the entrance to post offices, hospitals or anywhere else where hoards of people go everyday. Give me logic and I am happy.

  4. Why no new election to let the Slovakian people decide?

    1. It’s complicated Michael, for tactical reasons. If the coalition hands gives the thumbs up to Fico, he will rule out the rest of their term in office. If they call for elections, Fico will win it anyway, and probably by a bigger margin now as people are disgusted about how the coalition dealt with the whole issue. On various blogs people are saying they would not vote for this or that party again. It would therefore make more sense for them not to go into a race bruised and battered.

  5. Arnie: your comment on imminent collapse of the EURO is totally speculative at best. If indeed the value dropped against other major currencies by 20, 30 or even 40% it’s hardly a collapse and would be back to when the Euro was introduced. Now re Slovakia, this place is a joke. I’ve said before a band of chimps could run a country more effectively and will only get worse with Fico & Co. back in. I’m embarrassed to live in this country so will leave soon to spare my kids from the mentality of the the mainstream and the ridiculousness of the systems in place here.

    1. Although the situation in Slovakia is bumping at markets and the euro, the overall impact will not be so hard. Fico will now push through the EFSF with the government, possibly already tomorrow, he will wrench power back as soon as Gasparovic gives him the chance, and he and his ‘partners’ will settle back into their old seats, change everything back and restart their practices. Many people here are not stupid and they know what is happening, so I guess you should book your tickets well in advance. So where you heading Marek, to the seat of democracy, Greece? To the euro-free islands of the UK? Head west to Romania or Ukraine? I think in today’s Europe there is almost nowhere you can take your children to spare them, because the world has become consumed by greed and love of money. I will stay my ground here and take my chances.

      1. Oh come on John, you will stay your ground ? Just because you have no where else to really go . Please allow us with some options to leave this madhouse of a country and go to a place where the people over 55 dont smell of B.O on the trams, drive their cars dead bonnet center into the only tree in the road and feel getting totally pissing is all manly and is quite the normal way of woodcutting village life .

        Radicova blew it ( always was pretty useless as woman PM ) and tried to be all reasonable and ethical in a country full of total little shite’s . When she did not have the votes to get this through ( not appeal to MP’s ???) she should have resigned then ..not after scoring a huge own goal last night as she had used this petulant threat once too often and the guys just got pissed off with her . To blame Sulik for her own downfall is crass and just shows how weak and stupid she really is …

        1. I don’t disagree with a lot of what you are saying, and as my work is mostly internet related, I have as many options as you to look for utopia.

          1. Not utopia, just a place the does not have such short memory and not quite so many ruling hypocrites …with a group of people that dont believe they run the country in isolation, moral of otherwise, in power with less than 15% of those that actually bothered to vote .

            Sulik , after having his bum smacked by Mrs R., over his appointment of two deputy ministers , that actually did very little wrong, the finger wagging over his private plane trip for a dinner, the head shaking over his inventive use Parliament expenses to run his Party Offices and meanwhile I would think Sulik was in no mood to be Mr ‘ do as you are told ‘ Co-operative when you consider the KDH and Figels cheap bought flat in Bratislava, the odd sale of the Theater on the banks of the Danube and the Tax Office of Kosice swindle by SDKU , that all got swept under the carpet when it suited Mrs Ethical her .

          2. Friends of Richard Sulik regard him as a very astute and honest businessman who can turn any business round. His arguments about the EFSF are substantiated to an extent, with Slovakia paying the highest percentage of public finace towards the fund, while having the lowest average earnings. Maybe the new EFSF rules were designed to punish Slovakia for not pitching in for Greece. Maybe his partners should have fought more on his side, or at the very least, used one of the proposals to make sure the EFSF was safe, while preserving a certain level of decision-making. In any case, Radicova going ‘all-in’ when she had such a crappy hand was exceptionally bad poker playing.

  6. Well, at least now Radicova can get a good night sleep. It also begs the question: with Radicova out, who now can claim to have the worst job in Slovakia?

  7. To push through the bill is to enslave the people for decades to come. The Euro will collapse – far better now than later. Slovakia can be seen as a saviour or as the bankers puppet.

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