Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is on course to win another term in parliamentary elections on Saturday, maintaining an anti-immigration alliance with his European Union neighbors, Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Poland’s Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Fico, 51, is a Social Democrat but fits in with his two conservative peers when it comes to a focus on national pride, social conservatism and strong opposition to immigration. Opinion polls show Fico’s Smer party will win 32.5-38.4 percent of the vote, enough to retain power with a coalition partner or two. Many in Brussels are watching the election and Fico’s views on migration because Slovakia will hold the rotating six-month EU presidency from July, giving it a bigger voice in EU discussions.
Fico has made his tough stand against German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy the main issue in the election, and could beat his nearest rivals by around 20 percentage points, enough to lead the next cabinet.
Linking the influx of migrants into Europe to the November attacks in Paris and New Year Eve assaults on women in Germany, Fico said Muslim immigrants could not integrate. “Multi-culturalism is a fiction. Once you let migrants in, you can face such problems,” he said. “Virtually every time there’s a terror attack, it’s… Muslims.”
Fico is already openly clashing with the EU, saying Slovakia will not take its share of 160,000 refugees the EU agreed to relocate among its 28 members. He has filed a suit with the European Court of Justice against the plan.