Three and a half weeks after winning the election victory in Slovakia, the leader of the Smer-SD party, Robert Fico, formally assumed the position of prime minister this Wednesday before the country’s president, Zuzana Caputová. It will be Fico’s fourth term, which, this time, will be “marked by a sovereign foreign policy,” she stated. The politician will attend the EU summit in Brussels this week, where his European peers should get a first indication of how obstructionist he intends to be.
Because it was precisely Smer’s foreign policy that raised fears about his election in European capitals, as it includes the relaunching of relations with Russia and the end of military aid to Ukraine. “We will be a constructive government. You will see a sovereign Slovak foreign policy”, declared Fico at the investiture ceremony. Caputova urged the new Executive to maintain the good relations that Slovakia already has with its neighboring countries, including Ukraine”, and reminded him that he was not only assuming power, but also “responsibility for the republic and its citizens.
Fico assumed the position of prime minister referring to the work that his Gonierno will have ahead of him to rebuild a society that, in his opinion, is broken as a result of the poor economic situation and the increase in poverty. To do so, he will rely on a controversial coalition of two social democratic parties, Hlas and the pro-Russian Slovak National Party (SNS).
The new Cabinet includes some members of Fico’s previous cabinet, which fell amid a wave of street protests following the 2018 double murder of an investigative journalist and his fiancée. The pro-Russian deputy Juraj Blanar will head the Foreign Affairs portfolio, while Boris Susko will take over the Justice Department.
The former governor of the Central Bank and Smer-SD deputy, Ladislav Kamenicky, will once again be Minister of Finance, a position he held between 2019 and 2020. The Defense portfolio goes to the former Minister of the Interior, Robert Kalinak, accused in 2020 of corruption and creating a criminal group. The charges were later dropped.