The Slovak elections were tense to the finish, because of the slim margin between the two opposing factions battling it out for the position of power. In the end, the results saw the departure of HZDS from parliament after 20 years, with party leader Vladimir Meciar going underground, with no sight or sound of him since.
His coalition partner from nationalist party SNS, Jan Slota, is also under pressure. His party got into parliament this time by the skin of its teeth (with 5.07%, 5% threshold required), having lost over 140,000 voters. It now has just 9 seats in parliament instead of the 20 that it enjoyed over the past four years.
At an SNS party meeting yesterday, Slota said he would leave it up to the party congress set for 12 September to decide by ballot whether he would remain as party chairman or not. He is therefore not standing down, but willing to put his head on the chopping block to see if anyone has the guts to take a swing at him. The fact that he has postponed the decision until September also poses the question of whether he will utilise this time to ‘cleanse’ the party of any opponents he may have. So far nobody has said they would run against him for the party chair.
Just now his disappointment is sour and evident, but in time this could change to zeal, and it is hard to imagine how Jan Slota’s character would cope with being subordinate to someone else in the party, or to imagine him being inactive as a nationalist. Many would say there is no chance of that ever happening.