There was a startling life-imitates-politics moment during Saturday’s parliamentary elections in Slovakia, when the Krásna Hôrka castle, a national monument, burned to a smoking ruin. With the centre-right government also in flames, social networks quivered with a horrified question: how bad could this get? For the right wing – historically bad. For the first time in its 18-year history, Slovakia will be ruled by a single party, the social-democratic Smer (Direction) led by lawyer Robert Fico. With 44% of the vote, Fico captured 83 of 150 seats, and is now picking ministers ahead of a swift transfer of power. As impressive as the left’s victory was, Fico arguably had little to do with it. Last autumn, the four government parties quarrelled over the euro bailout scheme, and then petulantly refused to make up. The result was early elections, less than two years after the coalition took office, and an electorate fed up with such arrant folly. In rural countries, let it be said, rightwing governments should consider themselves lucky.Full Article: Slovakia's left emerges triumphant from the ashes of the right | Thomas Nicholson | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.
Mar 13 2012