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Election winner Fico no longer wants to send weapons to Ukraine

Is Slovak military aid ending?
Election winner Fico no longer wants to send weapons to Ukraine

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Slovakia was one of Ukraine's staunchest supporters until the election. That could change under election winner Fico: The pro-Russian former prime minister is calling for an end to arms aid. But first he has to find the right coalition partners.

The Slovakian election winner Robert Fico has indicated an end to his country's military aid to Ukraine. “We maintain that we are ready to help Ukraine in a humanitarian way,” Fico said in Bratislava. “We are ready to help rebuild the state, but you know our opinion on arming Ukraine.” The NATO country Slovakia has more important problems than Ukraine. But his party will do everything to bring about peace talks.

The party of the left-wing and pro-Russian former Prime Minister Fico has won the parliamentary election in Slovakia. After counting 99.98 percent of the electoral districts, Fico's left-wing national Smer party is with almost 23 percent, ahead of the liberal party Progressive Slovakia (PS) with almost 18 percent. The third-placed party “Voice – Social Democracy” (Hlas-SD) with around 15 percent could be decisive for the formation of a government, and its leader Peter Pellegrini has not committed himself to possible coalitions.

The more liberal Social Democratic Party split off from Fico's Smer-SSD three years ago. Fico and Pellegrini agree that Slovakia needs a strong welfare state. However, their views differ on the issue of aid to Ukraine. While Fico only wants to help the neighboring country with civilian goods, Pellegrini is just as positive about military aid as the bourgeois parties. He still has the trump card up his sleeve against Fico that he could also form a coalition with the liberal party “Progressive Slovakia”, which has recently entered parliament.

Worries not only in Kiev, but also in Brussels

Fico, on the other hand, has no other coalition option. Who leads the next government will therefore depend above all on Hlas-SD. Pellegrini's deputy party leader Erik Tomas said in a TV interview that Hlas-SD was ready for coalition negotiations with Fico's party. Shortly afterwards, Pellegrini softened his stance by saying that he was also open to talks with other parties if they accepted his demands. In any case, at least one other party is needed for a parliamentary majority.

In addition to these three strongest parties, four smaller parties made it into parliament in Bratislava. The right-wing populist and pro-Russian “Slovak National Party” SNS had already announced before the election that it wanted to enter into a joint government with Ficos Smer. The three other small parties, however, are staunch opponents of Fico. They could help a coalition between PS and Hlas-SD gain a majority against Fico. This would also ensure continued military support for Ukraine.

Coalition talks to form a new government could last two weeks, Fico said. President Zuzana Caputova announced that she would entrust Fico with forming a government.

There are fears in Brussels that Fico could join forces with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. This in turn increases the possibility of a confrontation with the EU over the rule of law, the war in Ukraine and migration issues. So far, Slovakia has been one of the most determined political and military supporters of the neighboring country attacked by Russia.

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