That evening, ex-Slovak President Andrej Kiska summed up the outcome of the National Council elections: “The reign of evil has ended”. According to Kiska, the distribution of votes now allows the democratic parties to form the next government. He left it open whether he would join a coalition of the good with his newly founded party “For the people”, which still received 5.8 percent. “Igor has to decide”.

Igor. This means Igor Matovic, the election winner. Nobody would have trusted the entrepreneur with the 25.02 percent of the votes with which he and his anti-corruption platform OLaNo (ordinary people and independent personalities) would win in these elections, which were considered fateful. Two polls before the election saw Matovic and his squad last at 19 percent.

The actual vote for Matovic is even clearer: he managed to banish the once overpowering Social Democratic Smer to second place. Smer lost ten percentage points and received only 18.3 percent of the vote. Their place will be the opposition banks, as the outgoing Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said after the election results became known.

Anyway, nobody can avoid Igor Matovic. “It would be a shame if we escaped from the battlefield with this enormous trust,” said Matovic in his acceptance speech. And: “I promise that together with the partners of the democratic opposition we will try to form the best government we have ever had.”

Splintered party landscape

The democratic opposition is Andrej Kiska and his “For the people” (5.8 percent) and also the “Progressive Slovakia”, once the political home of President Zuzana Caputova (7 percent). Another possible coalition partner is the neoliberal “Freedom and Solidarity”, which received 6.2 percent of the vote.

For a strong majority in the 150-member National Council, given the 53 seats that OLaNo achieved, this should not be enough. Matovic will need them to keep his election promise, to muck out the Augias stable of the Slovak judiciary. Contrary to expectations, Progressive Slovakia, the political home of President Zuzana Caputova, did not make it into the National Council.

Matovic will therefore also have to deal with the oligarch Boris Kollar, who, reborn as a populist, won the third best election result with his party “We are family” with 8.2 percent. Alternatively, there would be the “People’s Party Our Slovakia”. The often paramilitary group around Marian Kotleba sees himself as the heir to the clerical-fascist-corporate tradition of Jozef Tiso, which has at least brought them an eight percent share of the vote.

Kuciak murder as a turning point

In order to be able to govern effectively, Matovic – also as a result of the elections – will have to form a broad coalition. What unites the parties of the “democratic opposition” is a conservative worldview. What drives them is the will to smash the mafia entanglements in the country that were brutally exposed by the murder of the journalist Jan Kuciak and his partner Martina Kusirova.

The act led to mass protests that forced long-term prime minister Robert Fico to resign and the end of his party’s 12-year superiority, Smer Social Democracy. Election winner Igor Matovic is well aware of the importance of the Kuciak murder as a turning point: “The death of Jan and Martina was the decisive moment in which everything changed. Then we became aware of who really rules over us, ”he emphasized in his acceptance speech.

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